CNRS – PhD Thesis – Innovative encapsulation of solar cells and modules by Atomic Layer Deposition


Function:                  PhD candidate

Contract :                CDD

Start :                        From 2023, Sept 1st

Duration :                 36 months

Lieu de travail :      Palaiseau, Paris area (IPVF) / Grenoble (LMGP)

Education:              Ms in Material Science, Physics, or other relevant fields




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.

Bringing together recognized industrial leaders (TotalEnergies, EDF, Air Liquide, Horiba and Riber) and world-renowned academic research teams (CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique), IPVF’ multidisciplinary and international teams conduct research dedicated to clean energy technologies (photovoltaics, green hydrogen, etc.). IPVF has built an ambitious scientific and technological research program, divided into 5 programs and 19 sub-projects, to achieve this objective.
These programs are based on a high-level experimental platform of 8,000 m², located in Paris-Saclay, and comprising more than 100 cutting-edge equipment worth €30M.




LMGP – The Materials and Physical Engineering Laboratory (LMGP) is a research laboratory in materials science. It is a joint Research Unit (UMR 5628) of CNRS and Grenoble Alpes University ( With 44 Grenoble INP and CNRS permanent staff and about 50 PhD students and post-doc fellows, highly international. It is active in the fields of “crystal growth”, “thin films, nanomaterials and nanostructures” and “interactions between materials and biological matter”. The LMGP is a member of the CEMAM and MINOS Labex (excellence laboratories), the Micro- and Nanotechnology Federation (FMNT) and of the former Grenoble Nanosciences Foundation. As a member of the Carnot Institute “Energies du futur”, it participates in industrial research projects and possesses the ISO STANDARD 9001-2015 certification for its operational organizational structure. Through shared platforms (PTA, CMTC, erc), the LMGP has access to many fabrication and characterization techniques.




The nation-wide “Programme et Equipement Prioritaire de Recherche” (PEPR) TASE (“Technologies Avancées des Systèmes Energétiques”) aims to promote the development of a French industry for new energy technologies, for greater independence, creating jobs and capable of meeting current and future global demand of renewable energies and electrification of uses. The National Strategy has identified three priority sectors, including photovoltaics.
The project “REACTIVE _ SmaRtEr And eCo innovaTion buIlding blocks for advanced PV ModulE” addresses the need for innovative encapsulation technologies to facilitate dismantling and recycling, while maintaining performance and reliability. Indeed, an efficient (module lifetime > 25 years) and low-cost encapsulation solution is needed to enable market entry/deployment of PV technology.
Thin Film Encapsulation by ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) has proven to be a very efficient way to encapsulate devices such as OLED, but several challenges remain for PV applications (flexibility, temperature dependence, long-time operating conditions, cost, throughput,)
IPVF has developed encapsulation layers based on inorganic layers deposited by ALD, but more water-resistant layers such as inorganic nanolaminates must be prepared and characterized. Also, a major obstacle that hinders the development of efficient encapsulation layers is that the ageing, though accelerated, is very time-consuming. To tackle this, we recently purchased a pressure cooker as correlations between 2000 hours DHT and 4-day pressure cooker test (PCT) have been reported. Concerning the LMGP, the Spatial ALD team has used oxide coating to encapsulate and protect silver nanowire networks against thermal and electrical degradation, and more recently against ambient degradation. SALD coatings have also proven to be efficient passivation layers for the edges of Silicon-based solar cells.




The doctoral researcher will benefit from IPVF and LMGP expertise and unique capabilities in both ALD material development and photovoltaics.
She/he will integrate two dynamic and talented teams driven by innovation and results. Using their unique capabilities, her/his main missions will consist in the development of efficient barrier layers for solar cells, ie:

– Development of nanolaminates of inorganic layers (Al2O3, TiO2, SnO2, ZnO) or nanolaminates of hybrid inorganic-organic layers (alucone, titancone, tincone, zincone, … ), taking advantage from the capability of ALD technique to deposit conformal and dense film with thickness control at the nm level
– Characterization of the main material properties required for efficient encapsulation to identify best material solution and understand their behavior
– Transfer of the best material solutions into a Spatial ALD system
– Acceleration of the development of efficient encapsulation solutions by exploring and challenging the correlations between 2000 hours DHT and 4 days PCT.





– Material science

– Optical instrumentation

– Thin film characterization



– Hands-on experience with thin films would be a plus

– Data treatment

– Communication of results



Self-management skills

– Curious and enterprising

– Autonomous

– Organizational and collaborative skills

– Results-oriented



Cover letter, academic records and résumé (including the name and contact details of at least two references) to be sent to: and

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