CNRS Internship (ILV) – Application of the XPS/GD-OES coupling on complete solar cells: Study of HTL and ETL / Perovskite interfaces at t0 and after aging


Function: Master student

Contract Type: Internship

Starting Date: February/March 2022

Working Place: Institut Lavoisier (ILV), Versailles

Duration: 6 months

Education: Master 2




Become an actor of the Energy Transition by joining a team driven by innovation and impact to address today’s most decisive challenges.


IPVF – Institut Photovoltaïque d’Île-de-France, is a global Research, Innovation and Education center, which mission is to accelerate energy transition through science & technology.
Gathering industrial PV leaders (EDF, TotalEnergies, Air Liquide, Horiba and Riber) and world-renowned academic research organizations (CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique), multi-disciplinary and international IPVF teams conduct research for clean energy technologies. Supported by the French State, IPVF is labelled Institute for Energy Transition (ITE).


IPVF at a glance:
• An ambitious Scientific and Technological Program (6 programs divided in 24 work packages): from tandem solar cell technologies to economy & market assessment, state-of-the art characterization, photocatalysis and breakthrough concepts.
• State-of-the-art technological platform (8,000m²): more than 100 cutting-edge equipments worth €30M, located in cleanrooms (advanced characterization, materials deposition, prototypes for fabrication, modelling…).
• High-standard Education program (M.S. and PhD students).





Perovskite-based cells have shown a great evolution with an increase of 2.2% to 25.2% between 2006 and 2019, showing an interesting prospect for their commercialization [1]. To be able to compete with silicon technology, these cells must meet various criteria which are high efficiency, low manufacturing cost and excellent stability. To this end, research has focused on optimizing the chemical structure of Perovskite to arrive at the triple cation structure known as FAMACs. In addition, electron collecting and hole layers (ETL and HTL), as well as interfaces, have been shown to play a critical role in improving the efficiency as well as the intrinsic and extrinsic stability of these devices [2]. The two characterization techniques XPS (photoelectron spectroscopy) and GD-OES (glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy) will be applied for the in-depth study of a complete solar cell, focusing on the different interfaces, in a first time starting with simplified structures. The final objective will be to study in particular the HTL and ETL / Perovskite interfaces at t0 and after aging. Work to optimize / adapt the operating conditions of GD-OES will be carried out in order to maintain as much as possible the integrity of the chemical information collected using different plasma gases (Ar, Ar / O, Ne). An optimization of the XPS profiling conditions will also be carried out according to the cases encountered. Other structural and optical characterizations could also be carried out in order to better understand the mechanisms of aging and instability, ultimately making it possible to remove current technological barriers. This quantitative (XPS) and qualitative (GD-OES) characterization coupling methodology is a very promising means which has already been applied and validated on photovoltaic absorbers such as CIGS layers and III-V materials [3] [4].



[2] P. Schulz et al, Chem. Rev. (2019), 119, 5, 3349-3417

[3] D. Mercier et al, Applied Surface Science, 347 (2015) 799–807

[4] S. Béchu et al, Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, (2019), 37, 062902




This internship is part of a collaborative project lead by IPVF (Photovoltaic Institute of Ile-de-France) and will mainly take place at the Lavoisier Institute in Versailles (Versailles). The idea is to take advantage of the two techniques : XPS allows to precisely probe the composition of the extreme surface and thus to have access to the atomic composition as well as their chemical environments. The GD-OES, semi-quantitative technique, assures a fast depth profiling to quickly reach specific areas of interest in-depth.

  • First, work to optimize / adapt the operating conditions of the GD-OES will be carried out on simplified structures in order to minimize the degradation of chemical information.
  • Then, the craters resulting from profiling by GD-OES will be chemically studied by XPS in order to determine the chemical composition at different level of the layer as well as in the Perovskite / ETL or HTL interface area. Additional optical and structural characterizations will also be considered.
  • Finally, the in-depth study via both characterization techniques will also be applied for the study of a complete solar cell.





  • Physical – chemistry
  • Material science
  • Energy – Photovoltaic



  • Organization
  • Writing / Communication
  • Characterization of thin films would be a plus


Self-management skills

  • Team work
  • Adaptability
  • Independent




Cover letter and résumé to be sent to:

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