PhD scholarship in 3D X-ray Diffraction of Solar Cell Materials

Updated: 20 days ago

If you have competences in solid state physics, crystallography in particular, and have a knack for scientific computing, we have the position that will allow you to hone your skills and apply them to exciting new materials for the next generation of solar cells. We work at the forefront of crystallographic methodology with a technique that allows mass identification and refinement of crystal structure of hundreds of individual grains in situ. This holds the potential for revolutionizing materials science for many functional materials, not only solar cells, and you can be part of this exciting development. The PhD project will be conducted as a collaboration between the Section for Imaging and Structural Analysis (DTU Energy), the Section for Neutrons and X-rays for Materials Physics (DTU Physics), Mads Clausen Institute and SDU NanoSYD (SDU, University of Southern Denmark), and Manufacturing and Materials (Department of Pharmacy, University of Copenhagen).

Responsibilities and qualifications
In this project, the candidate will use 3D X-ray diffraction methods (3DXRD) that enable us to quantify the texture and strain distribution of crystalline phases in 3rd generation solar cells in the completed, functioning devices. The methods will primarily be applied to inorganic materials systems, although feasibility tests on organic materials is also foreseen.

The materials systems will be chosen to connect with new work on all-oxide tandem thin film photovoltaic devices, a sub-project which is a part of a larger project PIloT, where the aim is to develop all-oxide thin film photovoltaic (PV) devices for the Internet of Things (IoT). A focus here is on controlling microstructure, chemical composition and interfaces during the metal oxide thin film growth process. The work includes synthesis and integration of metal oxide electron and hole transport layers, as well as of active absorber layers.

The project you apply for, is part of the Centre of Excellence on hard materials, SOLID (, which has focus on research using the state-of-the-art large scale facilities, ESS and MAXIV for neutron and synchrotron imaging. You will thus have interaction with a large network of PhD students working with imaging, across Denmark.

Your focus will be on the 3D mapping of grains, identification of secondary phases, and the distribution of strain and defects through mass refinement of crystal structures.

  • The candidate will carry out 3DXRD experiments on materials, synthesized and processed at SDU or DTU, at large scale facilities (synchrotrons) and analyse the resulting 3D crystallographic data to establish 3D models of crystalline texture and phase conformation.

As the direct outcome of the project, we aim to

  • Acquire 3D data that allow us to quantify crystalline domain size, texture and defect concentrations with high spatial resolution and grain boundary relations in bulk absorber layers and at interfaces to the bounding electrodes.
  • Image the 3D spatial distribution and strain state of the crystalline phases in polycrystalline solar cells.
  • Show the dynamical degradation effects on micro- and nanocrystalline morphology by in situ 3DXRD on a 3rd generation solar cell.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the candidates will be made by the main supervisor, Professor Jens Wenzel Andreasen in collaboration with the co-supervisors Professor Henning Friis Poulsen (DTU Physics). Professor Morten Madsen (University of Southern Denmark), Professor Anders Østergaard Madsen (University of Copenhagen), and Head of Section Luise Theil Kuhn.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Jens Wenzel Andreasen,, phone +45 21 32 63 01. Please do not email applications, but submit online as instructed below.

You can read more about DTU Energy at and the Section for Imaging and Structural Analysis at .

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 1 June 2021 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here )

You may apply prior to obtaining your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Energy
The Department of Energy Conversion and Storage is focusing on functional materials and their application in sustainable energy technology. Our research areas include fuel cells, electrolysis, solar cells, electromechanical converters, sustainable synthetic fuels, and batteries. The Department, which has more than 200 employees, was founded in 2012. Additional information about the department can be found on

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland. 

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