Leuven, Belgium
31 Oct 2016
07 Jan 2017
Oil and Gas
Contract Type
Full Time
Job Description
TOTAL GRP collaborate with LPICM, IMEC and SunPower In order to develop technologies that will make a real difference in the near or mid-term future, TOTAL GRP leverages an original networked innovation model. Among the most important R&D partners of the TOTAL GRP network are the Laboratoire de Physique des Interfaces et Couches Minces (LPICM), which is based in the laboratories of Ecole polytechnique in Palaiseau close to Paris and the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC) headquarted in Leuven, close to Brussels.

Within LPICM and IMEC, TOTAL GRP has set up joint R&D teams which develop next generations of high efficiency solar cells and modules and collaborates closely with TOTAL GRP's industrial affiliate in California, SunPower Corp., renowned for developing the world's most efficient and reliable solar panels.

A CIFRE PhD Position within the TOTAL-IMEC-LPICM team
  • TOTAL GRP is seeking a PhD student to join LPICM and IMEC team and contribute to developing our expertise in advanced deposition techniques of crystalline silicon compatible with competitive solar cells. Two approaches will be pursued and compared: epitaxial layers at high temperature (>800oC, by Reduced Pressure CVD) in IMEC and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PE-CVD) at low temperature (
  • Allows tailored doping profiles with a much larger degree of design freedom as compared to diffused and implanted profiles
  • Allows the development of kerfless substrates by direct growth of a Si-precursor on a suitable seed layer, thereby eliminating all high temperature steps to go from highly purified Si-precursors (chlorosilanes, silanes, ...) directly to Si-foils or Si-wafers.
The present thesis proposal aims at comparing the 2 technology approaches to grow epitaxial layers for solar cell from different angles:
  • The growth of epitaxial layers at high (>800oC, by Reduced Pressure CVD) and low (
  • Extraction of majority (Hall mobility, ...) and minority carrier properties (lifetime, diffusion length, ...) for thin and thick epitaxial layers
  • Adaptation of high-efficiency Si solar cell flow to incorporate the different approaches
  • Comparison of the performance and detailed analysis of the recombination losses
  • First economical comparison of the two approaches for thin and thick epitaxial layers
The PhD is a CIFRE thesis, studying, researching and capitalizing work experience. The research carried out will lead to the defense of the PhD thesis, and be presented by the student at TOTAL Headquarters and at international conferences. The candidate's successful results will contribute directly to the design of next generation PV cells in close collaboration with our engineers.

For this purpose the Ph.D student will spend about equal time on the 2 locations (imec, LPICM) to get acquainted with both the deposition technology as well as the characterization techniques available at both sites. The PhD student will benefit from an international and highly dynamic industrial R&D environment, where he/she will develop competencies in solar photovoltaics, semiconductor and optical physics, and know-how in electrical, physical and optical characterization. He/she will be an integrated part of a team of outstanding scientists at LPICM and IMEC, and of TOTAL, where the resources invested in R&D Renewables reflect one of the company's strategic priorities: "Developing complementary next generation energy activities".

Profile sought
Educational background:
  • Master degree in photovoltaics or semiconductor Physics.

Knowledge and experience:
  • Knowledge in thin films deposition processes and tools.
  • Experience gained in an industrial or academic environment.
  • Proficiency in standard computer software (Excel, Word, PowerPoint).
  • Excellent English language skills (sufficient to understand technological publications and to participate in discussion and international scientific conferences).

Personal qualities:
  • Analytical skills
  • Curiosity and open-mindedness
  • Capacity to think out of the box and find innovative solutions
  • Team spirit
  • Autonomy
  • Perseverance
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to work in a wide transverse mode
  • Capacity to handle confidential information