Lund University

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About the Project

"Nanoscale Materials for Energy: Fundamentals, Applications and Safety" (PhD4Energy) was a single-site innovative doctoral programmefunded by the EC "People" program (€ 3.2M during 2014-2018). The project was hosted by NanoLund, the Center for Nanoscience at Lund University and Sweden's largest research environment for nanoscience, engaging more than 200 PhD students and scientists in the faculties of engineering, the natural sciences, and medicine at Lund University. The project consisted of three components: research, secondments and courses. Each of the 12 doctoral students in the project participated in all three components.

Nanoscale Materials for Energy: Fundamentals, Applications and Safety - Fact sheet and results on Cordis


The research focussed on the unique opportunities offered by nanowires and molecular engineering.

PhD4Energy developed

  • Solar cells that consist of nanowires and therefore are highly-efficient.
    Here, three of our young researchers explain how they hunt and collect the light
  • LEDs that can be combined to emit light in any colour and have very low energy consumption.
  • Practical methods to enhance the thermoelectric performance of nanomaterials.
  • Artificial molecular machines made from combinations of proteins and nanowires for the transfer of chemical to mechanical energy.

Furthermore, PhD4Energy concurrently evaluated the safety and sustainability of our novel nanomaterials and device fabrication.

The research goals were structured in 12 individual work packages.


In PhD4Energy, a secondment (internship) of 4 - 8 months duration was an integral part of the training. To enable this, we built a network of companies and institutions that have a high interest in interacting with the Nanometer Structure Consortium at Lund University on the science and technology of nanoscale energy converters, and in hosting and training doctoral students. The companies and institutions that participated in the program were QuNano AB (Sweden), IBM Research Gmbh (Switzerland), Exalos AG (Switzerland), Sol Voltaics AB (Sweden), Red Glead Discovery (Sweden), QuantumWise A/S (Denmark), Awapatent AB (Sweden), Gaia Solar (Denmark), IRND3 (USA), SUNY Polytecnic Institute (USA) and Fraunhofer ISE (Germany).


PhD4Energy students took courses in the following areas

  • Scientific skills (advanced physics, chemistry, and safety)
  • Scientific equipment (a course specific for tools in nanoscience)
  • IP skills (specific for this project about handling intellectual property (IP) and entrepreneurship)
  • Transferable skills (Innovation management, entrepreneurship, leadership)

The project held its kick-off meeting on 8th - 9th October 2014 in the beautiful environment of Backagården conference center, Höör. The picture shows the participants: all doctorate students, several supervisors and representatives of the associated partners.


Funded by the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-People-2013-ITN) under REA grant agreement n°608153, PhD4Energy.

Results about quantum-dot heat engine on Nature Nanotechnolgy cover page, October issue

Cover page Nature Nanotechnology Oct 2018

The PhD4Energy research on thermoelectric properties of nanomaterials showed that a quantum dot-based heat engine can convert heat into work with an efficiency similar to that of machines with moving parts.

See article by Josefsson et al.