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Design and fabrication of solid-state flexible supercapacitors using high surface area based advanced materials (EPS2022/38)

   School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

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  Assoc Prof Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu, Dr S Garcia  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a research studentship in the field of energy conversion storage leading to the award of the PhD degree. A background in materials, energy or mechanical engineering, physics/chemistry/nanoscience, with a strong track record in electrochemistry, is highly desirable. Similar backgrounds may also be considered.

About the project:

In recent years, the usage of portable devices, wearable electronic devices, flexible displays, the Internet of Things, sensors and microchips are creating demand for energy storage devices. Electrochemical energy storage devices (batteries, supercapacitors) are showing promising performance to tackle the energy demand. Particularly, supercapacitors have great advantages in terms of power/energy density, fast charge and discharge, low cost, easy maintenance and cycle stability, which accelerated extensive research. However, improving the specific charge capacitance, electrode (anode and cathode) stability under different operating conditions (temperature, bendability), and packing conditions remain a challenge. This project focuses on developing advanced highly porous multifunctional materials, with high internal surface area and excellent electronic conductivity. The project also involves testing of the materials’ electrochemical charge/discharge capability in flexible supercapacitors configuration with solid-state electrolyte. For instance, 2D materials (graphene, MXenes), metal-organic framework (MOF) based nanomaterials, and hierarchical nanomaterials are interesting. The electronic structure, morphology, chemical environment and surface functional property of the as-synthesized nanomaterials will be investigated. Furthermore, influencing parameters such as electrolyte additives, temperature effect, substrate bendability on cycle stability and performance of the device will also be examined in detail. 

This project will involve academia and industry collaboration. The PhD candidate will join Heriot-Watt’s Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS), an internationally leading centre researching solutions to prevent climate change. The centre includes state of the art laboratories, servicing a dynamic community of students and researchers. There will also be opportunities for the PhD candidate to travel to international collaborator labs.

Research Centre for Carbon Solutions: 

The student will work under the supervision of Dr Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu and Prof. Susana Garcia at Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

How to Apply

1. Important Information before you Apply

When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:

(a) in ‘Study Option’

You will need to select ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Postgraduate Research’. ‘Programme’ presents you with a drop-down menu. Choose Chemistry PhD, Physics PhD, Chemical Engineering PhD, Mechanical Engineering PhD, Bio-science & Bio-Engineering PhD or Electrical PhD as appropriate and select September 2022 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)

(b) in ‘Research Project Information’

You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project. Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the potential supervisor’s name.

This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.

Funding Notes

There are a number of scholarships available which offer funding from between 3 and 3.5 years at an average stipend rate of £15,000 per year.


1. Nature Materials 19 (2020) 1151–1163
2. Nature volume 538 (2016) 143
3. Chem. Rev. 104 (2004) 4245–4270
4. Chem. Rev. 118 (2018) 9233–9280
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