PhD position in nanoscale modelling of charge transport in semiconductor polymer chains

Project Description

This project is related to a PhD position in nanoscale modelling of charge transport in semiconductor polymer chains. The student will be based at the Department of Natural Sciences, University of Chester, with frequent visits to the Department of Physics, University of Bath.

Supervisory team: 
Dr Theodoros Papadopoulos (University of Chester, UK) 
Prof Alison Walker (University of Bath, UK)

Using solution-processable polymers as semiconducting compounds opens the way to flexible electronics and enables cheap and easy production of devices. Reliable modelling of intra-chain charge transport in conjugated polymers constitutes an important factor in determining organic electronics device performance, relevant to charge mobilities and efficient charge separation processes. Valuable insight in terms of device performance in the field of molecular electronics and organic optoelectronics will be gained, especially in devices such as organic photovoltaics (OPVs), organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), and organic field effect transistors (OFETs). In addition, this project will enhance our understanding of charge transport across polymer layers employed in perovskite cells. These cells have attracted enormous interest since their discovery in 2012 due to their rapid increase in power efficiency.

Our objective is to simulate charge transport through conjugated polymer chains (i) in the absence of defects, which would offer an upper limit of charge mobility, and (ii) in the presence of chemical and/or conformational defect sites, which would offer charge mobilities applicable to any semiconductor polymer chain. We will explore temperature variation of the very fast intra-chain charge mobilities (around 100 cm2/Vs) which is hard to capture directly from experimental data. This project profits from a long standing link between Dr Papadopoulos and Prof Walker on mesoscopic models of charge and energy transport in organic devices.

The project links with the EU Horizon2020 project Extmos, EXTended Model of Organic Semiconductors, the EU Innovative Training Network Maestro, MAking pErovskiteS TRuly exploitable, both coordinated by Prof Walker, the Horizon2020 project EoCoE, Energy oriented Centre of Excellence in computing applications in which Prof Walker is a partner, and with the Centre of Doctoral Training in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics, CDT-PV co lead by Prof Walker. It also links with collaborations of Dr Papadopoulos with groups in the US and Taiwan internationally known for their work on organic devices. These links provide a large number of expert collaborators from academic and industrial groups with a considerable stake in multiscale modelling of polymer devices.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof Alison Walker, email:, and to Dr Theodoros Papadopoulos, email:

In this funding scheme, the doctoral degree will be awarded by the University of Bath. Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Physics. Further information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found in the doctoral study guide of the University of Bath.

Application deadline: 18 March, 2018 (23:59)

Anticipated start date: 1 October, 2018

Funding Notes

UK and EU students applying for this project may be considered for a University Research Studentship co-funded by the University of Chester. The studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees, a training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a tax-free maintenance allowance at the RCUK Doctoral Stipend rate (£14,777 in 2018-19) for a period of 3.5 years.

Note: ONLY UK and EU applicants are eligible for this studentship; unfortunately, applicants who are classed as Overseas for fee paying purposes are NOT eligible for funding.