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PhD Positions: Boron Containing Semiconductors for Optoelectronic Devices

PP-09 PhD Positions: Boron Containing Semiconductors for Optoelectronic Devices

Contract: Full Time/Fixed Term

The III-Materials and Devices, and Photonics Theory Groups at Tyndall National Institute have recently attracted major funding to understand and develop semiconductor optoelectronic devices using III-nitride semiconductors with boron containing alloys.  This work requires detailed theoretical and experimental understanding of the fundamental properties of the material and their consequences for optoelectronic devices.  A key element of this project is the close collaboration between theory and experiment to develop this unusual and challenging materials system.

As part of this award, Tyndall and University College Cork have a three fully funded open PhD positions available focusing on different programme aspects. Both groups are well-established with significant teams, and who interact with others as part of a vibrant multi-investigator activity covering infrared to ultraviolet optoelectronic devices.

Key Responsibilities and research objectives

The responsibilities of the three PhD studentships is as follows:

PhD1: Semiconductor growth, characterisation of B containing III-N materials.

The preparation of B-containing alloys is complex due to the potential for crystal phase changes, as well as limitations on the incorporation and spontaneous decomposition. However, in thin layers such effects can potentially be circumvented.  The research activities will involve optimizing the growth conditions using metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy to obtain high quality material, and understand the limitations in boron incorporation, layer thickness. Layers will be examined by a range of techniques to determine their structural properties in particular. 

PhD2: Optical (Luminescent) characterisation, device fabrication and test of B-containing LEDs.

A key aim of the project is to understand the optical properties of device active regions (for LEDs). This will involve the characterization of boron containing quantum structures by spectroscopy. Subsequently activity will take optimized active regions and fabricate LEDs using the extensive cleanroom facilities at Tyndall.  These devices will then be tested to fully understand their behaviour and cross-correlating the obtained results with theoretical efforts on carrier transport in this material.  

PhD3: Theoretical understanding of B-containing alloy materials and heterostructures.

To ultimately guide the design of boron containing optoelectronic devices, the theoretical understanding is a key element of the project. To achieve this, a blend of theoretical models will be employed. This includes developing new theoretical frameworks, which are required to deal with this unusual alloy system. Methods applied and developed will range from density functional theory over to semi-empirical tight binding models up to modified continuum approaches, including k.p and drift-diffusion.

Other responsibilities

  • Actively engage and collaborate with internal team members (theoretical and experimental) and external collaborators on the project to ensure overall success.
  • Participate in Education and Public Engagement activities.
  • Ensure all activities are compliant with the Tyndall Quality Management system.
  • Ensure all activities are compliant with the required Health and Safety standards.

Essential Criteria

  • First or upper second-class honors degree in Physics, Materials Science, Electronic Engineering, or similar with educational experience of Semiconductor Materials and/or Devices.

Desirable Criteria

  • Master’s degree in photonics or electronics showing first class achievements
  • Strong interpersonal skills and team working ability
  • Ability to critically evaluate the obtained results and present their implications to others.
  • Good knowledge of semiconductor crystallography (PhD1)
  • Good knowledge of semiconductor optoelectronics and device physics (Ph2)
  • Good knowledge of electronic structure theory (PhD3)

The annual stipend is €22,000 pa. The fully-funded PhD position includes the stipend for up to four years or graduation (whatever comes first) and full coverage of academic fees/tuition (approx. €5,500/year) in addition to extensive training opportunities.

Informal inquiries should be sent to either:

       PhD1 & 2: Prof. Peter Parbrook (             

       PhD3: Dr Stefan Schulz (

Application Instructions

Step 1 - Click here to download and complete the Application form and indicate the Job Reference PP-09

Step 2 – Return the completed Application form, together with your CV and motivation letter to

Postgraduate applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency as per UCC regulations ( Certificates should be valid (usually less than 2 years old) and should be uploaded with their application. In special circumstances the panel may consider a prior degree in English (e.g. Master thesis written in English) as evidence of English language proficiency.

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

Please note that an appointment to posts advertised will be dependent on University approval, together with the terms of the employment control framework for the higher education sector.