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Graphene assisted III-V epitaxy for low-cost high-efficiency solar cells

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : vendredi 19 août 2022

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General information

Reference : UMR9001-AMADEL-003
Workplace : PALAISEAU
Date of publication : Friday, July 29, 2022
Scientific Responsible name : Amaury Delamarre
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 November 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Solar cells made of III-V materials present the best efficiencies among currently available technologies, up to 46% under concentration. Nevertheless, their cost is significantly higher than mainstream silicon modules. The major part of this cost, about 80% to 90%, lies in the III-V substrates necessary for the growth of monocrystalline materials with sufficient quality.
We propose to explore a new strategy to reuse the substrate for several consecutive growths, in order to drastically reduce its cost contribution. The main goal is to modify the surface of the III-V substrate, so that the fabricated III-V layers can be easily detached, leaving a clean surface suitable for subsequent layer fabrication. A promising route for surface modification consists in depositing graphene layers on top of the substrate.
The objectives of the PhD are twofold: (i) Define the best technological steps to achieve a high-quality epitaxy, which includes the fabrication and transfer of graphene on a III-V substrate, and the epitaxy by MBE. (ii) Elucidate the nature of the physical interactions between the fabricated material, the graphene, and the substrate underneath. It is suspected that this interaction consists in Van der Waals forces through the graphene layer. This would constitute a totally new tool for the synthesis of III-V layers, with a wealth of applications, such as photovoltaic as targeted here, but also silicon photonics, flexible devices…
This work will take place at the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies (C2N) in the SUNLIT team. It includes several methods of fabrication (graphene by CVD, III-V by MBE) and characterization (luminescence, SEM, TEM). Collaboration with high level scientists in specialized techniques are expected (XPS, STM). This environment gives the PhD candidate many opportunities to tackle this project challenge and gain experience.
The ideal candidate will have a master degree in physics, engineering, material sciences or related. Previous experience in clean-room is desirable but not essential. The candidate must show good organization skills to fabricate the target materials, using methods implying numerous parameters, in a clean room environment. Collaborative work being at the core of the program, communication skills are required for team working as well as regular presentation of work progress in internal meetings and conferences.

Work Context

The Center for Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies (C2N) is a mixed research unit from the CNRS and the Paris Saclay University, located at Palaiseau in Ile-de-France. It includes four scientific departments (photonics, materials, nanoelectronics, microsystems and nanobiofluidique) and employs 410 people.

This mission is carried out in the SUNLIT team in the photonics department, which is working on the development of new architectures and manufacturing processes for solar cells that are both high-efficiency, low cost and environmental impact.

Constraints and risks

Risks related to chemical products used in clean room.

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