The University of Southampton

SET Group hosts training module for PhD students from across the UK

Published: 3 June 2019
CDT-PV students taking a well-earned break during a weekend visit to the Isle of Wight.

Members of the ECS's Sustainable Electronic Technologies (SET) group, along with colleagues from Physics and Mathematics, recently hosted a 2-week training course for a cohort of 15 first year PhD students from the Centre for Doctoral Training in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics ( This forms one of seven training modules that the students undertake in the first year of their PhDs. Other modules are hosted at the Universities of Bath, Cambridge, Liverpool, Loughborough, Oxford and Sheffield.

During their two weeks in Southampton, the students enjoyed a packed schedule of lectures, labs and workshops on the theme of "Mathematical Methods and Nanotechnology". SET group senior research fellow, Dr Tasmiat Rahman, led a workshop on using Technology Computer Aided Design (TCAD) to simulate high efficiency silicon solar cells. "This was a great opportunity to develop my teaching skills and to share my expertise in modelling of solar cells with PhD students working in the field of photovoltaics" said Tasmiat.

Tudor Scheul, a 3rd year PhD student in the SET group, ran lab sessions on measuring quantum efficiency and reflectance of silicon solar cells. "I really enjoyed sharing my knowledge on the solar cell characterisation equipment we have in the SET group with the CDT students, who were all very keen to learn" said Tudor.

The students also donned bunny suits and experienced the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre cleanroom, where they learnt from SET group lecturer, Dr Stuart Boden, about how Focused Ion Beam technology can be used to characterise the surfaces of solar cells.

The students also took courses in numerical methods and charge transport modelling led by the School of Mathematics and discovered how time resolved photoluminescence spectroscopy can be used to probe charge-carrier dynamics in perovskite solar cells in the School of Physics.

Working in teams of 4, the students were also tasked with researching how different types of nanophotonic technologies are being applied to make better solar cells, cumulating in a seminar on the final day when each team gave a 20-minute presentation on what they had found out.

It wasn't all work though; the group took some time off over the weekend to visit the Isle of Wight and they experienced the culinary delights of the Brewhouse and Kitchen for lunch on the final day. Dr Boden, who also helped coordinate the week, said: "This is the fifth year we have run this training module for the CDT and I am always impressed with the enthusiasm shown by the students and the hard work they put in. We enjoyed hosting the CDT students and hope to meet up with them again as they continue through their PhD".

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