PhD Studentship (Case award) Spatial characterisation of photovoltaic modules

Loughborough University & National Physical Laboratory


Photovoltaic modules are being deployed in large numbers across the world and are fast becoming a major contributor to the overall energy generation park in a number of countries. The characterisation of these devices is a key factor in production based quality control and understanding the long term behaviour of these devices. The successful candidate will develop a new method for compressed sensing for spatial characterisation of PV (fast current mapping) using a digital mirror array. This utilises the commercial mirror arrays found in computer display projection systems to project mathematically derived patterns onto PV cells and modules to allow fast current mapping over large areas at high speed. This technique will allow defect identification at considerably higher speeds than conventional raster scanning techniques. The work will include to develop simulations and developing the mathematical basis for differing defects expected arising from the new technologies and construction methods of PV. This novel current mapping technique will be compared to existing mapping techniques such as Laser-Beam-Induced-Current (LBIC) scanning or electro-luminescence. An investigation of the extension of the technique to broadband operation will be made with supercontinuum lasers, lamps or tunable lasers.

Research environment

The project would be based within the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST) within the School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering at Loughborough University and at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). The successful candidate would be working under joint supervision of Prof Gottschalg and Dr. Betts at CREST and Simon Hall at NPL and would be expected to share time between the facilities .

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Funding and eligibility

The studentship is open to graduates with background in relevant engineering degrees (e.g. electronic and electrical, automation and control) and relevant science degrees (e.g. physics, mathematics) provided that they are articulate, well qualified and highly motivated. The minimum entry qualification is a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent. A lower qualification is acceptable if supplemented with an appropriate postgraduate (MSc) qualification and relevant experience.

Due to funding restrictions, the studentship is only available for those classed as home students. It is for 3 years and covers fees at a UK/EU rate and a tax-exempt stipend of £15,000 for the 2013/2014 academic year with cost of living adjustments in years 2 and 3. Studentships will be expected to start latest the 1st January 2014.

Additional Information

Applications can be made on-line by clicking the Apply link below.

Please quote SEESE/CREST/2013/02 on your application. All applicants are encouraged to make contact with the supervisor to discuss their interest in the subject area and also send them the electronic application to speed up the overall process.

For an informal discussion on the subject area, please contact the lead supervisor, Prof Ralph Gottschalg, on 01509 635310 or

For enquiries about the application process, please contact Julie Allen (

Applications will be accepted until 22nd October 2013, or until the post is filled.

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