PhD in Sodium-Ion Batteries: Understanding Degradation Processes of Electrode Materials and Interfaces
This PhD thesis project finds its context in the increasingly growing research field of sodium-ion batteries (SIBs), which represent one of the most promising next generation environmentally friendly electrochemical energy storage systems.
The goal of this project is to investigate novel electrode and electrolyte materials and their degradation mechanisms at a bulk and surface level, aiming at improving their electrochemical response in sodium-ion cells. Interdisciplinary efforts will be needed to elucidate the fundamental processes occurring upon sodiation, including i.) understanding the basics for the design and synthesis of new electrode materials; ii.) establishing the principles controlling electrode surfaces and electrode-electrolyte interfaces; (c) characterizing physical, chemical and dynamical electrochemical properties. By combining knowledge in surface science, chemistry, crystal chemistry, material science, with well-established electrochemical methodologies for battery material characterization, this project offers the possibility to gain an improved understanding of the electrode materials behaviour which can be translated in degradation-resistant approaches for the development of high performance, safe and durable next generation SIBs.
The candidate will acquire a skill set ranging from materials chemistry to electrochemistry by using several analytical techniques for the synthesis and characterization of battery materials. The synthesis procedures mainly involve wet chemistry methods and solid-state reactions. The materials characterization will be carried out by using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), X-Ray Diffraction Analysis (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) among others and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). The candidate will master the use of the most common electrochemical techniques used for the investigation of the processes occurring during battery operation such as Cyclic voltammetry (CV), Linear sweep voltammetry (LSV), Galvanostatic Cycling with Potential Limitation (GCPL) and Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS).
Desired Student Background
A minimum 2.1 undergraduate (BEng, MEng, BSc, MSci)* and/or postgraduate masters’ qualification (MSc) in science and technology field: Chemistry, Materials Science, Physics or Engineering.
Basic knowledge in one of these areas and strong motivation to learn the other ones: structural characterization of materials, surface characterization, electrochemical characterization of battery cells.
Self-motivated candidates with a strong analytical-thinking skills and curiosity toward scientific challenges are strongly encouraged to apply.
Funding and Eligibility
Standard Research Council Maintenance Award is available for 3.5 years: £15,285 per year
This PhD is available for a UK/EU applicant only. To be eligible for this project the successful applicant should have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and have been ordinarily resident here for 3 years prior to the project start-date, apart from occasional or temporary absences. Additional details of these criteria are available on the EPSRC website.
To apply please complete our online enquiry form and upload your CV.
Please ensure you meet the minimum requirements before filling in the online form.
Stipend: Standard Research Council Maintenance Award is available for 3.5 years: £15,285 per year
Start date: February 2021
Supervisors: Dr Ivana Hasa
Available to UK/EU nationals