RMIT-CSIRO Masters - Solution-processed hole-transport layers and vacuum-free organic photovoltaic device fabrication

This project combines expertise from RMIT University and CSIRO. The successful candidate would be expected to conduct research at CSIRO Clayton where 3D printing facilities for the fabrication of solar cell devices are located.

Organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices have long been promising next-generation PV technologies, however with relatively lower efficiencies compared to PV products in the market.  With recent breakthroughs in OPV materials, the record efficiency of the state-of-the-art device has been rapidly increasing, reaching a power conversion efficiency of over 18 %.[1] This efficiency is higher than that of some commercial PVs and would be high enough to create a new market with competitive advantages including flexibility, semi-transparency and low weight.[2] However, the promising efficiencies have been achieved by using costly, vacuum-processed electrodes. Low-cost solution-processable alternatives for the new generation of OPV materials have been underexplored to date. 

In this project, an RMIT student with a materials science or chemistry background will explore hole-transport materials by using CSIRO’s unique 3D printer-based solar coater.[3] Various commercially available materials (metal oxide nanoparticles, organic-inorganic hybrid materials),[4][5] as well as in-house materials, will be used with state-of-the-art OPV materials.[6] Energy level mismatching and charge-collection efficiency will be characterised to find the best material combinations for vacuum-free OPV fabrication. The student will gain experience in thin-film fabrication and characterisation, as well as knowledge in PV technologies. 

Project to be conducted in collaboration with CSIRO Clayton: Dr Doojin Vak and Dr Mei Gao.


  • [1] K. Jin, Z. Xiao, L. Ding, J. Semicond. 2021, 42, DOI 10.1088/1674-4926/42/1/010502.
  • [2] F. M. van der Staaij, I. M. van Keulen, E. von Hauff, Sol. RRL 2021, 2100167, 1.
  • [3] D. Vak, K. Hwang, A. Faulks, Y. Jung, N. Clark, D. Kim, G. J. Wilson, S. E. Watkins, Adv. energy Mater. 2015, 5, 1401539.
  • [4] Y. W. Han, S. J. Jeon, H. S. H. W. Lee, H. Park, K. S. Kim, H. S. H. W. Lee, D. K. Moon, Adv. Energy Mater. 2019, 9, 1.
  • [5] L. Sun, W. Zeng, C. Xie, L. Hu, X. Dong, F. Qin, W. Wang, T. Liu, X. Jiang, Y. Jiang, Y. Zhou, Adv. Mater. 2020, 32, 1.
  • [6] N. G. An, J. Y. Kim, D. Vak, Energy Environ. Sci. 2021, 14, 3438.

This CSIRO-RMIT co-funded scholarship provides a stipend of $32,841 per annum (pro-rata) for two years and successful applicants will also be awarded a Tuition Fee Scholarship.

To be eligible for this scholarship you must:

  • Have a first-class Honours or 2A Honours or equivalent degree in a relevant discipline of engineering/science
  • be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an international student meeting the minimum English language requirements
  • provide evidence of adequate oral and written communication skills
  • demonstrate the ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary research team
  • meet RMIT’s entry requirements for the master by research degree

Interested candidates should select a topic the list of research topics (PDF, 589KB) and contact the RMIT supervisor to express your interest in your chosen topic. Please provide the following documentation to the RMIT supervisor:

  • a statement to outline your interest
  • an electronic copy of your academic transcripts
  • a CV that includes any publications and the contact details of 2 referees.

You should also submit an application for 'Admission Only' via the Online application service.

Applications are open now.

31st December 2023

The RMIT-CSIRO Masters by Research Scholarships will only be provide to candidates who are enrolled in a research Masters program at RMIT. 
This scholarship will be governed by RMIT's University Research Scholarship Terms and Conditions.

For further information, please contact

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.