At DTU Energy, we have considerable experience with development of 3rd generation solar cells, specifically as regards scale-up to devices that may be manufactured at high speed in large volume.

To become truly competitive as an important part of the energy supply in the future society, relying entirely on sustainable energy, we must acquire a better understanding of the fundamental processes of charge generation and transport in 3rd generation solar cells.

This scholarship is offered by DTU Energy in close collaboration with the DESY, CFEL Theory Division to form a close link between theoretical simulations of electron dynamics with experiments in materials science and X-ray scattering.

At DTU Energy, we are leading experts in characterization of the crucial nanostructures governing solar cell performance, but in order to model and manage charge generation and transport in solar cells, we need to understand not only the static structures, but also the dynamic properties of the system. This competence is provided by the world leading experts of the DESY, CFEL Theory Division. See also below for a further description of the involved departments.

Responsibilities and tasks

  • In this project, the PhD candidate will work on extending a newly developed model for imaging of instantaneous charge currents between atoms by hard X-ray resonant scattering to larger dimensions (nano-domains) by exploiting momentum transfers at lower energy resonances. The case of conducting polymer heterojunctions in nano-particles will constitute the first and main focus for the project. Extensions to other relevant systems will include defects in nano-crystals and organic-inorganic systems.
  • The work will be focused on the theoretical description, with the purpose of designing and planning of appropriate model systems for imaging of instantaneous charge currents in photovoltaic processes. This should be achieved by providing the fundamental understanding to design and interpret ultrafast resonant X-ray scattering experiments, to be performed at fourth-generation X-ray sources, the free electron lasers.
  • In the final stages of the project, the candidate will collaborate closely with the experimenters at DTU Energy, on the design and interpretation of experiments with femtosecond time-resolved imaging of photo-physical processes in solar cell materials.
  • A substantial part of the work will take place in close collaboration with researchers at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) at DESY in Hamburg, and the candidate should therefore expect to spend a considerable part of the project (at least 1 year), living in Hamburg. Some traveling between Hamburg and Copenhagen is to be expected, but connections are fast and frequent.
  • As the direct outcome of the project, we aim for
    • 1: A modelling and analysis framework for ultrafast resonant X-ray scattering experiments probing instantaneous charge currents in a polymer nano-heterojunction.
    • 2: An extension of the experiment design and analysis to models for charge transfer at grain boundaries and electrode contacts.
    • 3: Model development and analysis for imaging of charge trapping at defects.
  • The project constitutes a central part of the theoretical framework behind SEEWHI, a 5 year project, funded by the European Research Council and aimed at a breakthrough in high-efficiency, large scale 3rd generation solar cells.


Candidates should have a master's degree in Physics, Chemistry or a similar relevant degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering.

Approval and Enrolment

The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.


  • The assessment of the applicants will be made by Senior Researcher, Jens Wenzel Andreasen, Head of Section Luise Theil Kuhn, and Professor at CFEL, Robin Santra
  • The candidate must have a strong background and competences in computational physics or chemistry
  • We specifically welcome experience and qualifications in electronic structure theory for large scale problems and molecular dynamics

We offer

We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, public-sector consultancy and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.

Salary and appointment terms

The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years.


The workplace will be divided approximately evenly between CFEL in Hamburg, Germany, and DTU Energy, Risø Campus, Denmark (at least 1 year in Hamburg, Germany).

Further information

Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher, Jens Wenzel Andreasen, tel.: +45 21 32 63 01,

Additional information about the department can be found on


Please submit your online application no later than 9. October, 2016. Apply online at

Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (an official translation into English)
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Energy is focusing on functional materials and their application in sustainable energy technology. Our research areas include fuel cells, electrolysis, solar cells, magnetic refrigeration, superconductivity, thermo electrics, sustainable synthetic fuels, and batteries. The section for Imaging and Structural Analysis is leading the department research in imaging and scattering experiments with focus on in situ and in operando applications.

The CFEL-DESY Theory Division develops theoretical and computational tools to predict the behavior of matter exposed to intense electromagnetic radiation. We employ quantum-mechanical and classical techniques to study ultrafast processes that take place on time scales ranging from picoseconds (10-12 s) to attoseconds (10-18 s). Our research interests include the dynamics of excited many-electron systems; the motion of atoms during chemical reactions; and X-ray radiation damage in matter.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and public service. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,300 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.

Apply here

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