Semi-transparent printable solar cells for energy generating windows

Key Information

NSG/Pilkington is one of the largest glass manufacturers in the world. With a strong presence in Europe and manufacturing sites in the UK, NSG produces over 320million M2 of glass products every year. NSG produces glass for markets such as automotive, display and optical products and in considerable volume for the built environment. NSG seeks to add value to their current building integrated glazing range by extending their current functionality from such things as low emissivity and self-cleaning to that of energy (electricity) generation. A range of different options are available including opaque application of existing PV technologies for spandrel panels however of interest in this project is the delivery of a PV technology that is also semi-transparent and that can be used in  conventional glass window products. An exciting new technology which may deliver this is the printable perovskite solar cell. Current champion performances of perovskite solar cells have reached over 22% in efficiency and continue to rise, this is achieved whilst using low cost materials that can be applied using industry scale deposition methods. The challenge of this project is to achieve a scaled glazing product using perovskite that is also semi-transparent, this requires additional technology innovation in the area of the perovskite absorber layer itself as well as in the normally opaque electrode materials.

This EngD represent an exciting opportunity to work within the PV group at SPECIFIC, led by Dr Trystan Watson and further the ambitions of NSG to develop a solution processable solid state semi-transparent solar glass product.

The SPECIFIC IKC sits beyond fundamental science to identify the technologies emerging from laboratories and assess their suitability to scale up in the area of building integrated functional coatings that generate, store or release energy. The photovoltaic group has responsibility for identifying new cell architecture and chemistries that fit with the necessary criteria of large scale manufacture which includes earth abundance, manufacturing feasibility and impact on the environment.

Project Aims

The aim of this project is to develop a semi-transparent prototype glazing product based on the perovskite solar absorbing material. This will entail the development and optimization of strategies to balance light absorption by the absorber material whilst maintaining semi-transparency of the glass overall and the ability to influence the overall absorption wavelengths (colour) and clarity of the device stack. It will be necessary to develop appropriate absorber and electrode materials for this purpose. In addition the methods that will be developed will require application using scalable processes such as blade coating or slot-die onto industrially relevant NSG products.

Suitable candidate 

Degree in Materials Engineering, Mechanical or Chemistry

Academic Supervisor

Dr Trystan Watson and Dr Justin Searle, SPECIFIC

Sponsoring Company NSG

Candidates should hold an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree with a minimum classification level of 2:1 or equivalent relevant experience. 

 Our funders require applicants to also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a UK or EU citizen (i.e. eligible for ‘home’ tuition fees at the University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of your studies.
  • You must be resident in West Wales and the Valleys at the point of enrolment and throughout the duration of your studies.
  • You must not be financially able to participate without the award of grant funding.
  • We would normally expect the English Language requirements to be met by point of interview (April 2018). For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit – http://www.swansea.ac.uk/admissions/englishlanguagerequirements/

Further information regarding eligibility criteria can be found at: http://www.materials-academy.co.uk/eligibility

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committed to addressing unequal gender representation.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £20,000 p.a.

Closing Date 28 February 2018

Start Date October 2018

Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk