PACE is a competitive PhD training program for a total of 8 PhD candidates, supported by the research funding scheme PRIDE of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). The PACE doctoral training unit provides structured PhD training in advanced photovoltaic concepts for building highly efficient next generation solar cells. Our aim is to start all 8 students together, to form a cohort.

The PACE program involves a close collaboration between the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology. Industrial visits and secondments are foreseen. The PACE program includes transferable skill training, support in career development, scientific lectures by international speakers and annual PhD retreats. The PhD candidates will be enrolled at the Doctoral School of Science and Engineering at the University of Luxembourg.

The research program focusses on tandem and micro solar cells, with 5 positions relating directly to these concepts. 2 positions are for advanced characterization of the material synthesized in the making of the solar cells. 1 further position is dedicated to understanding the defect physics of the used semiconductors.

Applications should include a motivation letter stating the choice of project, the contact details of 2 references, a full curriculum vitae and a copy of the relevant diplomas showing marks and should be sent using the appropriate links below.

Please note that applications failing to contain the requested documents or which do not indicate the preferred PhD projects WILL NOT be considered.

Candidates (students) A and B will investigate micro-solar cells for high efficiency applications:


Candidate A will be responsible for the electrodeposition and annealing of thin film semiconductor layers to form individual micro-solar cells. The candidate will also be responsible for semiconductor layer and solar cell characterization. Prior experience of any of the following: electrochemistry, thermal annealing, structural, or opto-electronic characterization is advantageous. Please apply here

Candidate B will work on inkjet printing of transparent conductive oxides (TCOs), with the aim to develop a low-cost process for fabrication of high-quality TCOs, which is compatible with micro-solar cells. The work will consist of synthesis of the inks, control of the jetting conditions and ink/substrate interaction, development of a low-temperature annealing process, as well as microstructural and opto-electrical characterization of the layers. A background in chemistry and prior experience on processing of materials are advantageous. Position filled.

Candidates F and G will carry out advanced characterization of the materials developed for the solar cells

Candidate F: The candidate will conduct correlative optical and electrical characterization of different thin film solar cell technologies on the micrometer scale in order to deeply understand the materials properties. The tasks of this candidate include: Hyperspectral time resolved photoluminescence imaging of CIGSe, hybrid perovskites and photo-ferroelectric materials and Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy in inert gas and ultra-high vacuum on selected samples to correlate the optical properties to the electrical properties on the micrometer scale. Please apply here .

– Master degree in physics or material science with excellent grades
– Experience in optical characterization of semiconductors via luminescence techniques is highly desirable
– Expertise in scanning probe microscopy is highly desirable
– A solid knowledge in semiconductor physics is mandatory


Candidate G: The AINA group at LIST has been developing a Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) add-on system for the Helium Ion Microscope (HIM) and for a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), allowing the advantages of high spatial resolution with high sensitivity chemical information to be combined. The candidate will use these novel multi-modal analytical instruments (HIM-SIMS and TEM-SIMS) to develop correlative nano-scale methodologies and apply them to photovoltaic samples. The PhD candidate will acquire highly-valued skills in advanced characterization techniques (TEM, HIM, SIMS) applicable in a number of fields in materials science and beyond. Position filled. 

– Master degree in physics, materials science, or closely related fields
– Interest in working with prototype instruments.

Applications for advanced characterization position F, please apply here. Remember to choose a project preference.

Candidate H will investigate the theoretical defect physics of semiconductors for photovoltaic applications

Candidate H: Defects have a strong influence on the performance of absorber materials for solar cells. The PhD candidate will perform calculations on the spectroscopic signatures of point defects in the thin-film solar cell materials Cu(In,Ga)S2 and Cu(In,Ga)Se2. This will require the use of existing ab-initio codes based on density-functional theory and on many-body perturbation theory. It will also involve the development of “second principles” methods such as tight-binding (fitted to ab-initio methods in small supercells).

This project will be part of the PACE program and will involve close collaboration with experimental groups of the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology. Additional collaborations with groups of the European Theoretical Spectroscopy Facility and a secondment in the group of Florian Libisch at the TU-Wien are foreseen as well.

We are seeking excellent and highly motivated candidates holding a Master’s degree in Physics and a strong background in quantum mechanics, solid-state physics, and computational physics. Fluency in English is mandatory – it is the working language.

More specific information on this project can be obtained by contacting

Applications for the theory position, please apply here .

Candidates C, D, and E will investigate multi-junction solar cells for high efficiency applications:


Candidate C will prepare and characterise low band gap Cu(InGa)Se2 solar cells suitable as bottom cells in tandem devices. The absorbers will be characterised by photoluminescence to fully use their potential. The cells will be electrically optimized for the illumination situation of a bottom cell. Position filled.

Candidate D will prepare polar oxide (ferroelectric) films by solution deposition to serve as a potential wide-bandgap top cell. The candidate will perform structural and electrical analysis of the films, measure the photovoltaic properties and separate bulk photovoltaic from interface-based effects. Attention will be paid to the influence of the ferroelectric domain structure on photovoltaic performance. Experience with dielectric and particularly ferroelectric materials is considered a strong asset. Position filled.

Candidate E will investigate high performance transparent conducting materials as top electrode for the low band gap solar cell. The challenges will be to design materials combining appropriate band alignment, conductivity and transparency, as well as to develop a low-temperature vapor phase deposition compatible with the cell processing, potentially using a hybrid layer combining e.g. transparent conducting oxide and silver nanowires. Experience with transparent conducting materials is advantageous. Position filled.