PhD opportunity (starting 10/2020)

Characterisation of Ga2O3 materials for ultraviolet optoelectronic devices

Wide bandgap semiconductors are the materials of choice for fabricating devices such as solar-blind detectors and ultraviolet (UV) light emitting diodes which are important enabling-technologies for water purification, biological and chemical sensing, flame detection, or communications. With a bandgap of 5 eV, gallium oxide (Ga2O3) is currently thought as one of the most promising materials for next generation UV optoelectronics and power electronics. In particular, the α phase of the compound (α-Ga2O3) offers unrivalled promises for tuning the operation wavelength of the device in the UV range – hence enabling the fabrication of devices for specific end-applications (e.g. to detect of a given pathogen in water). The α phase is however metastable, meaning that reliable synthesis of the material has for long been a challenge – which has been overcome recently. Consequently, little is known, at the experimental or theoretical level, about the mechanisms that lead to light emission/sensing in these materials. It is however vital to understand the inner mechanisms of the material in order to deliver efficient devices to nowadays challenges.

We are looking for a student to investigate the structural, chemical, and optical properties of α-Ga2O3 materials at the nanoscale. The project will build on the world-leading electron microscopy and spectroscopy capabilities of the Semiconductor Spectroscopy and Devices (SSD) group at the University of Strathclyde, which include electron probe micro-analysers (EPMAs) and low-vacuum scanning electron microscopes. The student will conduct characterisation using the following techniques: cathodoluminescence (CL), electron beam induced current (EBIC), electron channelling contrast imaging (ECCI), electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD), and energy/wavelength dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX/WDX), as well as photoluminescence (PL). Throughout the project the student will also be exposed to other experimental techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), as well as theoretical modelling. We will work in close collaboration with the crystal growers (e.g. at the University of Liverpool) in order to build an in-depth understanding of how the growth affect the materials properties in order to deliver efficient devices for UV optoelectronics.

We are looking for a highly motivated, proactive individuals with keen interest in experimental physics and knowledge in the following areas: semiconductor materials and devices, semiconductor physics, characterisation techniques, and crystalline defect. Prior involvement to similar experimental activities is preferable.

The studentship is fully funded for 3.5 year.  UKRI eligibility requirements apply.

To apply, send a cover letter, CV and a recent transcript via email at