Category Archives: People

Prof. Stuart Irvine

SPARC II Directorcropped stuart new2

Professor of Solar Energy Materials in the College of Engineering at Swansea University. Current research interests include thin film photovoltaic (PV), transparent conducting oxides (TCOs), MOCVD of oxide and chalcogenide semiconductors, in-line deposition of thin film coatings for thin film PV, characterisation of PV devices and PV modules. Interest in the fundamental mechanisms of MOCVD include reaction kinetics, precursor chemistry and nucleation mechanisms. The PV research entails innovative methods for improving PV cell and module efficiency such as light management and extending the spectral range of PV devices. Fundamental aspects of materials properties that influence efficient carrier collection and differences in performance of polycrystalline materials compared with their single crystal counterparts are at the core of this research. Other important aspects of his research into PV performance include long term degradation mechanisms and carbon footprint of PV module manufacture. Professor Irvine is interested in PV applications such as Building Integrated PV (BIPV) systems, stand alone PV devices for harsh environments such as marine, high altitude and space applications.

Dr. Dan Lamb, CChem, MRSC.

dan_lambSPARC II Project Manager

Dan is the SPARC II project manager. In this role, Dan coordinates project management across the whole SPARC II consortium and provides technical leadership and engages in research activities on some aspects of the research programme. One of Dan’s current areas of research interest is high-power, low-weight, flexible thin film photovoltaics for space application.  He has conducted research in collaboration with the University of Surrey, Qioptiq Space Technology and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd leading to the first reported direct deposition of a thin film solar cell onto 100-micron thick space qualified cover glass. Most recently, Dan has collaborated with the Surrey Space Centre and the UK and Algerian Space Agencies to build a flight demonstrator of the CSER solar cell which is now orbiting the earth as part of the AlSat Nano mission. The solar cell on-board AlSat Nano feeds back live data on the cells performance and give this innovative technology all important space heritage.

Dr. Andy Clayton, CChem, MRSC.

andy clayton croppedSPARC II Senior Research Officer

Andy is currently working on thin film tin sulphide (SnS) photovoltaics (PV) using a prototype inline metal organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD) reactor. He also works on transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) using a large area inline MOCVD system and is currently focused on aluminium doped zinc oxide (AZO), as well as using zinc oxide (ZnO) as a resistive barrier layer. Andy is working towards an Earth abundant non-toxic solar cell device and has interests in the investigation of suitable n-type buffer/window layers for an effective p-n junction in a SnS-based solar cell. Other interests include the CVD approach for fabrication of perovskite films for improvement of structure stability and long term performance of solar cells using tin halides. Andy has designed and built a gas delivery system for perovskite CVD, with use of metal organic chemical precursors and capability for industrial scale-up. He has also established a robust platform process for thin film cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV with tight control on all MOCVD process parameters from substrate to solar cell device. This included development of ultra-thin CdTe solar cells, working towards reducing material consumption and production costs for commercial manufacture.

Dr. Giray Kartopu, MInstP.

SPARC II Senior Research OfficerGK profile pic



Dr. Giray Kartopu is a Senior Research Associate of the Swansea University with current research interests: Fabrication and optimization of inorganic thin film photovoltaic solar cells produced by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD); Scaling up of CdTe solar cells towards modular devices; Template synthesis of functional, one-dimensional nanoparticles of semiconductors and metals. He published over 50 peer-reviewed papers (h-index 16), 2 book chapters, and 1 patent in related fields.

He joined the Centre for Solar Energy Research in 2010, having held several other postdoctoral research associate positions in the UK and Germany (The University of Nottingham, 2008-2010, and University of Applied Sciences Kiel, 2004-2008). He obtained his PhD from the De Montfort University, Leicester in 2003 for studying the optical and quantum confinement effects in semiconductor nanoparticles embedded thin films. He graduated from the Middle East Technical University, Turkey, with a BSc degree in Physics by 1999.

He is serving as a peer-reviewer for various scientific journals, as an editor for the ISRN Nanomaterials, and as a guest editor for the MDPI Materials for a special issue on CdTe thin film solar cells. For paper submissions, the link to the Special Issue can be found at:


Dr. Ralph Hall

SPARC II Research Officer

Dr. Ralph Hall is a Swansea University SPARC II researcher currently working on CdTe-based solar cell technology, focused on the development of back contacts, including infrared transparent back contacts.  Ralph Hall has worked on many different compound semiconductor materials. He joined the Centre for Solar Energy Research in 2018 on an InnovateUK project, OTHELLO, on utilising near-infrared radiation transmitted through infrared transparent solar cells for heating working fluids in heat engines. CSER’s role in OTHELLO was developing back contacts for CdTe cells and comparing potential performance with other solar cell technologies.

Following a BSc degree in physics from the University of Edinburgh, he received a PhD from the University of St Andrews (1989) on deep levels in III-V and II-VI semiconductors. He worked for the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK (which became QinetiQ Ltd.) until 2010. His main work was on characterisation of narrow gap semiconductor devices and materials made from mercury cadmium telluride and indium antimonide, and their applications including infrared imaging. This included an understanding of materials growth and characterisation, device fabrication and characterisation, and integration with electronic and optical systems. Four patents were granted from this work. From 2011 to 2013 he worked in Estonia on commercial kesterite photovoltaic development (crystalsol OU/Gmbh). From 2013 to 2017 he worked on industrial applications of precision electrical characterisation of CMOS materials (eoSemi Ltd.).

Dr Ochai Oklobia, MIET, MInstP.

SPARC II Research Officer

Ochai completed his PhD in Electrical/Electronic Engineering in the area of Organic semiconductor Photovoltaic technology. He worked as a research assistant at Staffordshire University; on newly developed solution-processed low band gap polymeric semiconductors for PV applications, and developing novel fabrication techniques for enhancing device performance. Current research interests include structural, and optoelectronic characterisation, optimisation of thin film solar cells, by metal organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD). He is also involved in process development for thin film PV scale up methods.

Steve Jones, CEng, MIET, MSc(Chem)

steve_jones2SPARC II Senior Technical Officer / Laboratory Manager

Steve has been active in the research field of thin film semiconductors for 20+ years. He has worked on applications such as transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) and p/n junctions through to ultra-hard coatings.  Some of the thin film materials studied have included zinc oxide, cadmium oxide, CdTe; all deposited by the metal organic chemical vapour deposition technique (MOCVD).  He has experience of managing commercial projects and delivering custom designed thin film solutions from concept to demonstration coating. He has many years of experience in compound semiconductor research with expertise in crystal growth, thin film deposition of compound semiconductors using Metal Organic Chemical Vapour Deposition (MOCVD), materials characterisation and device physics.  Experience in renewable energy includes photovoltaic (PV) solar energy based on compound semiconductor thin film materials, measurement of PV cell characteristics and PV cell design. Steve is an experienced Industrial electrician and has recently gained an MSc in Chemistry.

Peter Siderfin

peter140x80SPARC II Research Technician

Peter is a multi-disciplined engineer who has 20+ years R&D experience. Peter is responsible for the development, design and construction of new prototype test equipment and assists commercial companies with characterisation utilising many of the analytical equipment at CSER and product testing and development.

Michelle Davies

SPARC II Finance Officer

Michelle joined SPARC II as the Finance Officer in 2019. Michelle started her financial career at Swansea University back in the 90’s, she then worked at various companies including Sony UK Ltd where she worked as a financial accountant and the Wales Audit Office as a financial auditor auditing public spending money.

In 2019, Michelle returned to Swansea University and joined the SPARC II team. Her role includes collating, evaluating and reporting data to the SPARC II project sponsors, project manager and project instigators, preparing and maintaining financial records for audit activities and preparing and uploading quarterly financial claims to WEFO.

Contact Details


Centre for Solar Energy Research
The OpTIC Centre
Swansea University
St. Asaph Business Park
St. Asaph.  LL17 0JD


+44 (0)1745 535158