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Energy harvesting for autonomous systems

This research project is in competition for funding with one or more projects available across the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). Usually the projects which receive the best applicants will be awarded the funding. Find out more information about the DTP and how to apply.

This project will focus on the mechanisms by which communications based on light emission by LEDs or lasers can be powered by energy harvested from the environment.

You will develop understanding of compound semiconductor heterostructure devices and the absorption and emission of radiation, the change and exchange of energy and entropy in such a system, design a laser or LED powered by the heat and light available in the environment, fabricating such a device and demonstrating communication of information at some level.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is an exciting global megatrend and UK government priority area, which if to be realised, requires the development of a number of key enabling technologies with potentially huge scientific and market value.

As part of the Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub (CS Hub), we are working with academic and industrial partners to enable development of interconnected systems for the IoT.

A key part of the vision of the IoT is the large number of autonomous sensors relaying information back through the web. To be truly autonomous, a sensor must be able to derive energy from the environment to perform the sensing action and to relay the information back to the connected system.

Project aims and methods

The project will follow a flexible timeline with completion feasible within 3.5 years including 0.5 year contingency. The first year will include a literature study and the development of suitable experimental and computational skills. The remainder of the PhD will include device development, device demonstrations and assessment and completion of the thesis.

You will integrate fully with the CS Hub research team comprising post-doctoral research associates, technicians and senior staff at the University, and make use of Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) facilities.

You should have a strong background and interest in optics/photonics, thermal physics and semiconductor physics.


Peter Smowton

Yr Athro Peter M Smowton

Deputy Head of School and Director of Research

+44 (0)29 2087 5997
Gao Min

Yr Athro Gao Min


+44 (0)29 2087 5034

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