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A 4-year PhD studentship in sodium metal batteries


   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr Y Xu  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisor: Dr Yang Xu

Application deadline: 8th July, 2022

Interview date: Within 3 weeks after the application deadline

Start date: Sept. 26th, 2022

Applicants are invited to apply for a PhD studentship in the Department of Chemistry at UCL, under the supervision of Dr Yang Xu. This position is a DTP studentship fully funded for 4 years by the EPSRC and is available from Sept. 2022. 

Sodium metal batteries are based on an earth-abundant elements and hence cost-effective and sustainable, holding significant promise to tackle climate change and accelerate decarbonisation. The use of metallic sodium as the anode in a battery cell will significantly improve cell energy density. The challenge of using metallic sodium anode is rooted in the limited understanding of sodium electrochemical deposition, particularly sodium dendrite growth and unfavourable parasitic reactions, which could be different from lithium electrochemical deposition. This project will investigate fundamentals of interfacial chemistry and materials. The project aims to analyse the interfacial chemistry of electrochemical sodium stripping/plating and the properties of the solid-electrolyte interphase formed during the plating, as well as to understand the key kinetic limitations, including side reactions, of the stripping/plating reactions. The goal of the project is to discovery materials that can be modified on the anode surface and approaches of modifications to facilitate the stripping/plating reactions, and therefore increase the columbic efficiency of the reactions in sodium/sodium symmetric cells and sodium/cathode full cells.

The successful candidate will carry out cutting-edge research using the state-of-the-art facilities at UCL and through collaboration with researchers nationally and internationally. In addition, the project will link to other ongoing projects (sodium-, potassium-, calcium-ion, and sulphur batteries), enabling great potential for internal collaborations.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or a related discipline. Candidates will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice, the ability to think analytically and creatively, and be keen to work collaboratively in a team environment. Excellent experimental skills, a curiosity-driven attitude to science, and good communication skills (both presentation and writing in English) are essential. UCL offers a world-leading scientific environment in the heart of London.

Interested candidates should initially contact the supervisor, Dr Yang Xu ([Email Address Removed]), with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in these projects. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Please note that a suitable applicant will be required to complete MS Form entitled Application for Research: degree Chemistry programme. In addition, it is essential that suitable applicants complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply (please select Research degree: Chemistry programme) prior to the application deadline and advise their referees to submit their references as soon as they possibly can. All shortlisted applicants will be invited for the interview no more than one week after the application deadline. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac at [Email Address Removed].


Funding Notes

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU students with settled/pre-settled status and students with indefinite leave to remain subject to residential eligibility criteria. Full details are available at https://www.ukri.org/manage-your-award/meeting-ukri-terms-and-conditions-for-funding/. Please note that the studentship only covers home fees. The updated rules for eligibility for home fees for next year are available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/students/fees-and-funding/pay-your-fees/fee-schedules/student-fee-status.
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