Degree project

We welcome you to contact us if you are interested in doing your degree project with us. Sometimes we have project proposals to give but there is usually something to do. You can read about our research areas and projects and see what may interest you. Contact any of our researchers if you are interested. 

Master thesis opportunity: Characterization of chemically strengthened glass by spectroscopy measurements

Background: Glass as a material has the ability to contribute to the solution of several societal challenges that we are facing today. More glass than ever is used in buildings because of the transparency of glass, which lets sunlight into buildings and increases human well-being. Glass has also gained increased use through displays and solar energy, while glass packaging loses its market share to plastics, mainly because it is a heavier material. Glass is energy-intensive to manufacture and in order to manufacture thinner glass products, the glass needs to be made stronger. Chemical strengthening of glass is an old invention but has relatively recently achieved proper commercial success. However, the understanding of chemical strengthening is still not complete in several aspects, due to the complexity of the process and its mechanisms. Through a better understanding of the mechanisms, the possibilities of improving chemical strengthening of glass will be opened up.

Project Description: The glass composition affects chemical strengthening a great deal since it is based on interdiffusion of larger ions from a molten salt bath into the glass and smaller ions out of the glass. Chemical strengthening is based on two different processes, the kinetic that is connected to the interdiffusion and the physical processes that turns the “stuffing” of ions into compressive stress which can be separated into two relaxation processes 1) structural relaxation and 2) viscous relaxation. In the current project we wish to study the structural information of chemically strengthened glass in relation to the concentration profiles using XPS. The interdiffusion coefficient will be calculated as well as the activation energy and an attempt to model the compressive stress build-up will be made. The thesis will be jointly supervised by Uppsala University and RISE Glass, located in Växjö. The work will involve literature review and characterization of glasses. The majority of the work will be performed at the division of Solid State Physics, Department of Engineering Sciences, Uppsala University. RISE will provide glass samples to be measured at the Ångström Laboratory, Uppsala University. Good knowledge of physics and/or chemistry is mandatory.

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
Building Technology – Glass
Stefan Karlsson (+46 10 516 63 57, stefan.karlsson@ri.se)
Senior Scientist
RISE, Glass

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Synthesis and physical characterization of atomically thin FeS2

Background:

Thin-film solar cells, due to reduced materials cost and promising efficiency, gain momentum in large-scale deployment of photovoltaic technology for solar-to-electric power conversion with a potential to meet the grid parity with that of conventional fossil fuel based energy production. The champion materials for thin-film solar cells are crystalline silicon (c-Si), CdTe, and CuIn1-xGaxSe2 (CIGS). However, rareness and toxicity of Cd, Te, In and Se limit their widespread application. In pursuit of alternative materials, iron pyrite (FeS2) is an interesting alternative with comparable high absorption of CdTe and CIGS, and with high abundance, low-toxicity, as well as proven stability over geological time scales. United States geological survey studies has ranked FeS2 as the best among the 23 inorganic photovoltaic materials based on annual electricity production potential.

Despite these impressive properties and ranking, solar-to-electric power conversion efficiency of FeS2 is < 3% because of disappointingly low open circuit voltage (VOC < 0.2 V, ~ only 20 % of bandgap). If the efficiency can improve to 10%, the estimated production cost of electricity with FeS2 can fall as low as < 0.000002 ¢/W. Apparently, a 10% efficiency look far beyond the reality, however, it is argued that if the VOC can increase to 500 mV, we can reach a conversion efficiency of ~ 20%. Therefore, intensive research is needed to improve the VOC of FeS2 based solar cell.

In this regard, this project aims to synthesize ultrathin 2D FeS2, and characterize its photophysical properties for fundamental investigations and for future solar cell applications.

Project description:

Exfoliation, intercalation, and liquid metal reaction will be exercised to figure out a scalable synthesis route for atomically thin FeS2. State-of-the art characterization techniques will be employed to understand its (i) photophysical properties using UV-Vis spectroscopy, (ii) vibrational properties using confocal Raman Spectroscopy, (iii) morphology using TEM, SEM and AFM, (iv) chemical states using EDX, XPS, and FTIR.

The information obtained from this project will be used to engineering the pyrite phase of FeS2 for fabrication of high efficiency extremely thin film solar cells.

The proposed work will be performed at the division of Solid State Physics, Department of Engineering Sciences, Uppsala University. The suitable candidate should have, at least, basic knowledge on materials science, solid-state physics, and materials chemistry. Additionally, some knowledge in nanomaterials synthesis and understanding of physical characterization technique is a plus but not mandatory. Good knowledge of physics and/or chemistry is mandatory.

For question and enquiries, please contact: Dr Mohammad Ziaur Rahman (e-mail: mohammad.rahman@angstrom.uu.se; Phone# +46701679705)

Last modified: 2021-06-23