Discovery of new lead-free inorganic materials for photovoltaic applications

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Chemistry


The aim is to discover new solar harvesting materials through the design and synthesis of new inorganic solids coupled with advanced structural analysis (crystallography) and physical property measurement. Recent breakthroughs in lead-based perovskites show the importance of new absorbers, but materials such as the hybrid perovskite methyl ammonium lead triiodide have unsolved problems associated with stability, sustainability and toxicity. This project builds on our recent discovery of a new family of lead-free absorbers with distinct structures. You will explore and understand the new halide and chalcogenide solid state chemistry of closed shell, non-toxic, earth abundant elements, discovering and characterising new absorbers, and thus developing a new materials approach to this problem. We collaborate closely with leading groups in condensed matter physics and device manufacture to allow rapid evaluation of the new materials in applications.
The project will combine synthetic solid-state chemistry, advanced structural analysis (crystallography) and measurement of physical properties, with the opportunity to focus on one or more of these aspects during the project. The targeted new materials contain key structural features known to be important in optimising solar absorber behaviour, such as close-packed halide lattices. You will develop skills in materials synthesis, including air-sensitive techniques and solution processing, and in structural characterisation by X-ray diffraction (laboratory and synchrotron) and optical and electronic spectroscopy. Promising materials will be processed into simple photovoltaic devices with our collaborators to relate properties and performance with structure and composition.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/T517975/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2025
2599723 Studentship EP/T517975/1 01/10/2021 31/03/2025 Cara Hawkins