Thanks for clicking on this link, happy to hear that you are interested in joining our group. There are various ways of joining our group and a non-exhaustive list can be found below. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask us.
For Undergraduate Summer/Winter/Anytime Projects (potentially also remotely)
There is usually the possibility to host one or two students for an extended project in our laboratories, both on site and due to the ongoing international COVID-19 situation we're also envisioning remote projects as new path to gather research experience. The exact topics vary from a literature review to building measurement equipment to investigating particular questions on our solar cells that can be done in a few weeks to two-three months. We are doing mainly experimental work, so being hands-on is of advantages, but have become a bit more flexible given the pandemic and work-from-home. Depending on the particular topic, the requirements can range from e.g. experience with python, FreeCAD, electronics and open source hardware to a solid understanding of semiconductor physics. General requirement is a keen interest in renewable energies. In terms of funding, MPLS/EPSRC has some Vaction Bursaries (2nd or 3rd year students though) and for Oxford students, sometimes Colleges have summer project funding. We still need to figure out how this would work for remote undergraduate projects, but this should not stop you from asking. For students from the EU, we can still host Erasmus+ students.
Duration: 8 – 10 weeks
Location: Department of Physics, Oxford, UK
Organic solar cells (OSCs) have huge potential to reduce CO2 emissions and foster innovative applications. They are made of semiconducting molecules based on carbon, whose properties are highly tuneable. OSCs are lightweight and flexible, with the potential for inexpensive large-scale fabrication. To enable this potential, energy loss pathways that limit the power conversion efficiency and slow down their adoption into market have to be further reduced. Studying these losses, and how they can be overcome, is one of the biggest open questions in the field. Key to answering this question are high sensitivity characterization setups that allow us to efficiently study how light is converted into electricity.
The aim of this project is to design and build a measurement holder for organic solar cells that will integrate with existing characterization equipment. Key requirements of the holder include:
- Low noise characteristics to measure the performance of solar cells with high sensitivity.
- The ability to apply a DC voltage to the solar cells to perform scans with applied bias.
- Robustness, ease of use, and suitable integration with existing measurement equipment.
The project is hands-on and includes mechanical and electronic aspects. As part of this, you will engage with our mechanical and electronic workshop for manufacturing of parts. You will be supported by a senior PhD student and a Postdoctoral researcher for the duration of the project.
You will have the chance to learn about essential characterization techniques for solar cells and how to design an easy-to-use high-sensitivity optoelectronic setup. Depending on interest, there is the chance to use 3D printing and to program in Python for automated experiment control. All designs and code are aimed to be made open-source and publicly available to other researchers.
During your internship, you will get the chance to experience the research environment at Oxford within a research group that is at the forefront of developing next generation solar cells. There will be plenty of opportunities to engage with group members, join for experiments, and learn how to fabricate and characterize organic solar cells.
We are looking for an undergraduate student in physics, engineering or a related field, who has completed at least one year of study. The project does not require previous experience or special skills, though some experience with hardware design is helpful. More than anything, we are looking for an enthusiastic person willing to learn and work independently. We strongly encourage applications from students belonging to under-represented groups. We are aiming to secure funding and make this a paid internship. If the project description appeals to you, please send an email to Anna Jungbluth or Pascal Kaienburg.
For a Master Project
While the Department of Physics does not offer a stand-alone Master course in experimental physics, sometimes students spend parts of their Master project in Oxford while being enrolled (and eventually graduating) at another University in the UK or elsewhere. If you are interested in such a project, please speak to your Master project supervisor first and ask them to contact us so we can see whether we can make it work. Exchange is an essential part of research and strongly encouraged.
As PhD (or DPhil, as it is called here) Student
The application process for DPhil places is very formal and structured here in Oxford. The intake of new DPhil students is always in October of a year and the application process starts roughly 10-12 months before that. Our topics and the details of the application process, including specific deadlines can be found on a Central Physics Page. The University has information on fees and funding opportunities on its own pages. Note: applications can only be received through the official university application pages, not by email.
Through a Fellowship
Many fellowships, in particular postdoctoral fellowships, are advertised that require an academic host. One example are the fellowships offered through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, which we can still participate in despite Brexit, and there are more fellowship options around. If you are interested in joining our group this way, the earlier you contact us, the better. These schemes are all very competitive, so a well prepared proposal is essential, and this usually takes some time... Our excellent Research Facilitation Team maintains a webpage that lists many of the fellowship options, including timelines and further information.
As Visiting Researcher
Oxford is a great place for a sabbatical, but even shorter research stays are worthwhile in our opinion and we have hosted researchers for a few months to a year in the past. Key to a successful visit in our lab is matching interests, mutually added value as well as sufficient time and capacities in our laboratories. Hence, a good planning is required, in particular with respect to timing and required resources. Before contacting us, please have a close look at our research focus as well as publications on our webpage.