Joel Smith is working towards his PhD at the University of Sheffield on the stability and scalability of hybrid perovskite photovoltaics under the supervision of Prof. David Lidzey, in the Electronic and Photonic Molecular Materials (EPMM) group. A specialist in synchrotron-based X-ray scattering techniques, his research focuses on using in situ methods, such as Grazing-Incidence Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering (GIWAXS), to build on the fundamental understanding of perovskite stability and phase behaviour. With this expertise, Joel takes a leading role in coordinating activities of the EPMM group undertaken at Diamond Light Source. At the time of writing (October 2019) Joel is on an Erasmus+ placement at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin collaborating with the group of Dr Antonio Abate in applying his skills.

In addition to this specialism, Joel has experience of developing new scalable processing methods for perovskites – a major focus of the EPMM group. He also recently had the opportunity to work as a part-time research engineer with PowerRoll Ltd who work very closely with EPMM, assisting with the development of their groove-based PV architecture.

Before embarking upon his PhD, Joel received a MPhys from the University of Manchester, and whilst there he was twice elected full time Activities & Development Officer for the Students’ Union, a post which brought with it responsibility for commercial management of Manchester Academy venues, festival management and campaigning focused on fossil fuel divestment and sustainability projects.

Joel has interacted with SuperSolar since the start of his PhD, attending the SuperSolar Summer Meeting in 2017, and then presented a poster at RSC Next Gen Materials for Solar PV 2018, with the assistance of a SuperSolar sponsored conference place which covered his attendance fees.

Joel’s responsibilities at Sheffield continue to grow and he is actively involved with the GCRF START project which brings together UK and South African researchers, with energy materials research as one of its themes. Last year he also helped organise and host the Pint of Science launch fair in Sheffield, contributed to the Idea of North Material Exhibition at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, and is currently preparing his first journal paper as lead author.