Open PhD position on novel geometries for organic solar cells and photodetectors

The candidate will join the team led by Mariano Campoy-Quiles, which is a team of around 10-12 physicists, chemists, material scientists and engineers, whose mission is to contribute to find solutions that will help to provide clean energy to everybody.

The team is part of the Nanostructured Materials for Optoelectronics and Energy Harvesting (NANOPTO) group, which is generally devoted to materials for energy and photonic applications.

The current position taps in the processing and device technologies established in the past few years by the group, in order to develop novel applications in terms of photodetection and solar cells. These two technologies are based on the use of photonic structures to enhance the absorption in organic semiconductors, as well as deposition methods that enable the deposition of lateral composition gradients.

On the one hand, spectroscopic photodetection is a powerful tool widely employed in disciplines such as medical diagnosis, industrial process monitoring, or agriculture. However, its application in novel fields, including wearable, portable and biointegrated electronics, is hampered by the use of bulky dispersive optics. Traditional spectrometers are based on broadband photodetectors combined with diffraction gratings or dichroic prisms, characterized by a rather high structural complexity and cost. During this PhD, two approaches will be used to overcome these issues and thus demonstrate miniaturized spectrometers: multipixel photodetectors coupled to reconstructive algorithms, and optical microcavities based on thickness wedges in which spectral selectivity is given by local cavity thickness.

The same architectures will also be optimized in order to fabricate multijunction organic solar cells based on novel spectral splitting concepts. Organic solar cells are very promising as they are based on abundant, non-toxic materials and low thermal budget processes, thus rendering highly sustainable. Further increases in power conversion efficiency, as such granted by multijunction strategies, hold the promise to make this technology closer to commercialization. The two architectures mentioned above, lateral gradients and optical microcavities, can be used precisely with this objective if finely tuned for solar cells optimization. The miniaturized device can also be used for fundamental analysis of samples (i.e. for detection of impurities in a sample, traces of solvent…).

Example of a substrate with 24 organic solar cells with thickness gradient of the active layer prepared by blade-coating.


Main tasks of the candidate

To develop the project, the candidate will learn how to use a large variety of techniques and methodologies. The main tasks that will be carried out within the project include:

  1. Fabrication and optimization of organic photodetectors and solar cells
  2. Investigation of the lateral gradient and cavity geometries
  3. Development of reconstruction algorithms
  4. Fundamental study/characterization of materials and devices using, e.g. advanced spectroscopy.
  5. Literature review and paper drafting
  6. Contributing to the group (e.g. taking care of the maintenance of a given piece of equipment, giving presentations at group meetings, helping new students, etc.)



We are looking for a creative and motivated PhD candidate, who enjoys being part of a team.

The fellow should hold a Bachelor degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science or Nanoscience, related engineering disciplines, and hold a recognized Master degree (or equivalent).

Some experience in materials processing and/or optics/photonics would be an added value.

About The Nanostructured Materials for Optoelectronics and Energy Harvesting Group

The Nanostructured Materials for Optoelectronics and Energy Harvesting (NANOPTO) research group focuses on producing and characterizing advanced semiconducting structures with the main objective of understanding their fundamental behavior in order to tailor and improve their functionalities and empower different applications in the areas of optoelectronics, energy-related, and sensing devices.

In particular, Mariano’s team focusses on the experimental development of organic and hybrid-based materials for applications in energy (photovoltaics and thermoelectrics) as well as optoelectronics (e.g. photodetectors). The group has a strong background on advanced spectroscopic techniques as well as a broad processing toolkit.

In the framework of a recent European project, the team has used those two experimental strengths to create high-throughput (combinatorial) screening methods that allows to investigate materials in depth and taking little time and raw material. This approach enables more systematic investigations of materials, as well as creative undertakings (effective Friday afternoon experiments;-). The group has an extensive collaboration network with researchers working at the most prestigious international centers, which we intend to nurture.

We value a diverse and inclusive work environment where all team members have excellent opportunities for learning and contributing.

For more information, please visit:


The Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) is a multidisciplinary research center focused on cutting-edge research in functional advanced materials in the fields of ENERGY, ELECTRONICS, NANOMEDICINE and application fields yet to imagine.

The ICMAB is integrated within the Barcelona Nanocluster in Bellaterra (BNC-b), a research network that includes the UAB, the CSIC (ICMAB, IMB-CNM and ICN2) and IRTA, part of the UAB Research Park of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (PRUAB) and the ALBA Synchrotron. The BNC-b aims to share advanced scientific equipment and promote and disseminate nanoscience and nanotechnology.

The ICMAB offers a complete range of scientific services, including a 10,000 class cleanroom (the Nanoquim Platform) that are open to interested parties, whether these are academic or from industry, and it participates in all kinds of educational and promotional activities. Many ICMAB researchers teach at the UAB Master’s degree in Nanotechnology and Materials Science and also on the UAB degree on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

Details of the position

Contract (full time) duration for 3 years.

Gross annual salary in the range of other PhD fellowships from the MICINN
Tentative Starting date: October-November 2022
Further information (contact person): Dr. Mariano Campoy-Quiles,

The student will be enrolled into a graduate PhD program of the UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). UAB is a public university, and a young one too (it has only just celebrated its first half century of life). It is full of energy, of ideas and of an innovative spirit, a ‘disruptor’, not afraid to embrace modern methods in teaching, in research and in knowledge transfer to society. UAB is among the best young universities in the world; within this group, it stands out through its research and its capacity to establish collaborative networks with the best international research groups.

The UAB campus is a green, sustainable, friendly and welcoming environment where there is time and space to go beyond the activities of teaching and research. It is a space for culture, sport, associations, and participation in university life, both that which is institutional and that which takes place outside the regulated areas.

How to apply

Interested candidates should send by email to project officer Eulàlia Pujades ( the following documents:

  • motivation letter (where you introduce yourself, previous experience in relation to the post and future goals)
  • detailed CV, including the academic record, and a list of references with contact details

Please, label your documents CV-INTRAMURAL-XXX.pdf and Letter-INTRAMURAL-XXX.pdf, replacing XXX by your surname and mention position “PhD INTRAMURAL” in the email title.


Closing date for application: The recruitment process will be closed on September 9th or when a suitable candidate is found.

However, in the interest of gender equality, this may be extended until the ratio between female and male applicants is reasonable.




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