Welcome to the CDT-PV Guest Blog!

CDT_LogoHello, we’re the Centre for Doctoral Training in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics, or CDT-PV for short, and are a collaboration across seven UK universities; Liverpool, Cambridge, Sheffield, Southampton, Bath, Oxford and Loughborough. CDT-PV aims to train students in state-of-the-art technologies for renewable energy and photovoltaics, helping the UK  meet it’s renewable energy obligations. Over the next few months we’ll be writing a series of blog posts on a range of subjects related to our studies. CDT-PV is in it’s second year, and the blog will feature contributions from students across the two cohorts, who introduce themselves below. We hope you enjoying reading our blog!

IntroPost_AlexAlex Smith

Good day, all. I’m originally from Buckinghamshire and completed my integrated-masters degree in physics at the University of Surrey in 2015.  During my undergraduate I worked as science editor and then editor for the student newspaper, The Stag, and for my masters project I spent a year in Austria at the International Atomic Energy Agency working on low-cost UAV-based radiation detection solutions. I am now undertaking a PhD project at the University of Bath, within the CDT-PV, which currently focuses on simulating charge transport in organic photovoltaic devices (using Kinetic Monte Carlo) and will soon simulate this for many polymer morphologies generated using a technique called FRODA. As well as all this I spend my time struggling through Tolstoy and the BBC Good Food website.

IntroPost_ElizabethElizabeth Parrot

Originally from North Yorkshire, I moved to Oxford in 2010 to study physics and enjoyed my masters project so much that I forgot to leave. I’m now in the second year of my PhD, trying to understand more about perovskite solar cells using photoluminescence spectroscopy (aka playing with lasers). When I’m not in the lab I can usually be found helping out at my church, going for walks, playing the piano or baking.

IntroPost_HeatherHeather Goodwin

As part of the second cohort of the CDT-PV I am based in Cambridge doing my PhD researching multiple exciton generation in semiconductor nanocrystals in the optoelectronics group. Previously, my undergraduate was from the University of Edinburgh in chemical physics. As part of my degree I was able to take a year long industrial placement at Merck Chemicals in Southampton working on printable OLED materials. This was a fantastic introduction to research, industry and what a research scientist actually does. Within the CDT I’m enjoying getting the opportunity to talk to lots of different people at the various universities about their research, hearing their ideas about mine and getting the chance to explore a few English cities.

James Cave

Hi, I’m James. I’m in the second year of my PhD at Bath having also completed my masters in physics here. My work involves computational modelling of novel materials for solar devices, including organics and perovskites. In my free time I enjoy eating biscuits and watching TV.

IntroPost_JulianeJuliane Borchert

I completed a BSc in physics at the Freie Universität Berlin and an MSc in physics with a focus on photovoltaics at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. For my masters I studied the structural properties and phase changes during the growth of perovskite thin-film solar cell, during a one year research project. Furthermore, I am a certified solar-installer and have worked as a freelance technical consultant alongside my studies. For my PhD project at the University of Oxford I am now working on combining new vapour deposition techniques with new characterisation methods to further the understanding and performance of perovskite solar cells. I love music and can not remember a time in my life when I was not part of a choir.


Lewis Wright

My name is Lewis Wright, I have a BSc in physics from Loughborough University, and have stayed on to do my PhD with the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology. My project is based around solution depositing earth-abundant materials for photovoltaic applications. Current methods for making solar panels are either expensive, slow, energy intensive, toxic, or every combination of all four. My project is about producing CZTS (copper, zinc, tin and selenium) solar cells by simply spraying a mixed solution onto the substrate. All four elements are common in the Earth’s crust which makes them cheap, they have low toxicity, and a spraying technique would mean it is scalable for industry. My project is aimed at bringing inexpensive photovoltaics to the masses.

Lucy Whalley

Hi, my name is Lucy and I’m originally from Newcastle, UK. I graduated with an MPhys from the University of Birmingham in 2011 and a PGCE in post-compulsory education and training in 2012. After four years teaching maths to adults and at a primary school I’m now working towards a PhD at the University of Bath with the CDT-PV. My project is to develop multi-scale simulations of point and extended defects in thin-film photovoltaics. When I’m not glued to a computer I enjoy cycling, walking and camping – being outdoors!

IntroPost_OliviaOlivia Ashton

I’m Olivia and I studied an MSci in chemistry at Imperial College London. Now I’m at the University of Oxford as part of the CDT-PV and currently research perovskite nanocrystals. I am enjoying working with such a versatile material and excited for what it can bring to the future of optoelectronics. Alongside my studies I love to read, travel and go scuba diving.

Watch this space for more from the CDT-PV, and don’t forget to read our CDT-CMP Guest Blog too.

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Images: used with permission.

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