Postgraduate research opportunities

Photoconduction of wide bandgap semiconductor materials and devices

Wide bandgap semiconductors are vital materials for applications in ultraviolet optoelectronic devices. The project will investigate the photoconduction properties of several wide bandgap semiconductors, with a particular focus on corundum phase alpha Gallium Oxide (α-Ga2O3).

Number of places



11 November 2020


3.5 years


Qualifications: BSc (Hons) 2:1 or equivalent degree in physics /materials science/engineering.

UKRI Studentship Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for UKRI funding has changed for studentships commencing in the 2021/22 academic year. Now, all home and international students are eligible to apply for UKRI funding which will cover the full stipend and tuition fees at the home rate (not the international rate). Under the new criteria, UKRI have stipulated a maximum percentage of international students that can be recruited each year against individual training grants. This will be managed at the institutional level for all EPSRC DTP and ICASE grants. For EPSRC CDT grants, this will be managed by the individual CDT administrative/management team. For ESRC and AHRC studentships the final funding decision will be made by the respective grant holder.


To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.


The residency requirements are based on the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) Regulations 2007 and subsequent amendments. Normally to be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education).

If a student does not meet the criteria above, they will be classed as an international student. The international portion of the tuition fee cannot be funded by the UKRI grant and must be covered from other sources. International students are permitted to self-fund the difference between the home and international fee rates.

Project Details

Wide bandgap semiconductors (bandgap > 3.5 eV) are vital materials for applications in ultraviolet (UV) optoelectronic devices for, e.g., biochemical sensing, water purification, or high-power transistors. Photoconduction is one of the fundamental properties of semiconductors whereby incident photons at the appropriate energy generate free carriers in the material, thus increasing its conductivity. Studying photoconduction can theoretically reveal important linkages between the electronic, optical and structural properties of the studied material that would help develop new strategies to improve the efficiency of wide bandgap semiconductor devices.

The student will investigate the photoconduction properties of several wide bandgap semiconductors, with a particular focus on corundum phase alpha Gallium Oxide (α-Ga2O3). To achieve this, the student will use the newly built (and only in the UK) setup for wide bandgap photoconduction measurements. The analysis will be complemented with photoluminescence (PL) and UV-vis transmittance spectroscopy measurements, to correlate with the material optical properties. Finally, cathodoluminescence (CL) and electron beam-induced current (EBIC) techniques in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) will be used to observe the identified mechanisms with a nanoscale resolution.

Throughout the project the student will also be exposed to other techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), electron channelling contrast imaging (ECCI), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), as well as theoretical modelling. We will work in close collaboration with the crystal growers in order to build an in-depth understanding of how the growth affect the photoconduction properties in order to produce materials for efficient devices for UV optoelectronics.

We are looking for a highly motivated, proactive individual with keen interest in experimental physics and knowledge in the following areas: semiconductor materials and devices, semiconductor physics, characterisation techniques, and crystalline defects. Prior experience with the aforementioned experimental techniques is preferable.

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

More information about the group, its activities, and related publications can be found at and

Funding Details

There is no funding for this project (self-funded students only).

Please contact to discuss applications for scholarship.