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Designing novel electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries using operando techniques and smart synthetic control

Project Description

The energy grids of the future will be increasingly dependent on renewable sources of power generation, such as wind, solar and wave. To make this a reality and help towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions, new and improved energy storage solutions are urgently required. To deliver these, new electrode materials are required, particularly for anode applications.

This fully funded PhD studentship will study conversion anode and novel hybrid anode systems for lithium-ion batteries. The project will involve learning to apply our emergent and flexible synthesis methods, which enable rapid and controllable formation of novel nanoscale crystal shapes in oxide materials. This gives a powerful new route to optimising the electrochemical performance of a material via control of particle morphology. We will use a wide range of techniques (e.g. X-ray and neutron diffraction, total scattering methods, electron microscopy, battery fabrication and testing) to fully understand the fundamental processes involved in both synthesis and functional properties. We will make good use of our brand-new world-class operando diffraction and MicroCT facilities to study the changes that occur inside batteries during operation.

The ultimate aim of this project is to develop new conversion anode and/or conversion/alloy hybrid materials capable of storing significantly more charge than currently used commercial alternatives. The methods used and approaches taken will be of huge relevance to the wider study of other energy storage and functional materials.

The candidate will work alongside an experienced research team at the University of Sheffield. The Department of Materials Science and Engineering has world-leading facilities for materials synthesis and characterisation, which we will complement by making extensive use of synchrotron and neutron sources both in the UK (Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, Didcot) and abroad (Grenoble, France).

Applicants should have some knowledge of solid state chemistry, materials processing or ceramic science (e.g. applicants should have a BSc II-i or above in Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, or another relevant degree).

This project is funded in part by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, via the ICON scheme. The LRF is a leading supporter of engineering-related research, training and education that makes a real difference in improving the safety of the critical infrastructure on which modern society relies. As a Lloyd’s Register Foundation doctoral student, the successful applicant will engage with the global ICON network and have the opportunity for funded travel and study visits accordingly.

The University of Sheffield is committed to building a motivated and diverse University community, where staff and students demand the highest standards from each other and work together to maximise the benefits of difference. We aim to create a corporate culture that is inclusive at all levels and in every system and process. Through our Equality and Diversity Strategy and Action Plans - Excellence Through Inclusion - we will work with and listen to people from across the University and beyond, to hear and help them tell the positive stories about what we have achieved already through inclusion and what we should be doing in the future.

Early application is encouraged as if a suitable candidate is found then the advert may close before the end date.

Funding Notes

Funding covers home tuition fees and annual maintenance payments of at least the Research Council minimum for eligible UK and EU applicants. EU nationals must have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the programme to be eligible for a full award (fees and stipend).

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?
Materials Science and Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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