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Development and application of in-situ electrochemical TEM methods for energy storage application

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Saturday, November 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The drive to harness alternative energy sources that avoid environmentally damaging hydrocarbon fuels has led to a global research effort into the development of new energy storage technologies. Whether it is the cars we drive, the personal electronics we use, the manufacturing or service business we work in or the way we power our houses, batteries will play a large role in all future functions of our modern life. The current research challenge is to make these batteries more efficient, more powerful, at lower cost, with less weight or with more abundant materials that have environmentally friendly processes that can also lead to more simpler recycling strategies.
Development and application of advanced in-situ characterisation methods such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Helium Ion Microscopy (HIM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) provides unique insights into operation of next generation batteries. While operando TEM methods have been demonstrated previously (Mehdi et al, Nanoletters 15, 2168 (2015)) the volume of the cell limits diffusion processes and does not permit larger scale effects to be identified. By optimising cell design, we can begin to incorporate novel nanomaterials and control interfacial process e.g. mass transport, which initiate the structural changes and eventually lead to battery failure.
In this Faraday Institution supported project, advances in electrochemical controlled TEM/SEM/HIM operando stages will be used to perform precisely calibrated measurements and visualise the formation of structures at the electrolyte/electrode interface on the 0.5-50nm length scale. By using an operando stage, it will be possible to investigate directly the effect of electrolyte depletion and diffusion by comparison to the conventional battery.

Qualifications applicants should have/expect to receive:

The successful candidate will have or expect to obtain a first or upper second class degree or equivalent (e.g. MPhys, MSci, MChem, MEng) in science, engineering (Physical sciences, Materials, Natural sciences). Those with experimental skills and enthusiasm for research and innovation are encouraged to apply.

Funding Notes

This PhD is part of a new Faraday Institution UK project on the Degradation Mechanisms in Li-ion batteries and involves extensive cross disciplinary academic and industrial collaborations.
The PhD position is only for the UK or EU citizens/ students and the student will be funded at a standard EPSRC rate for a period of three years (covering tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for 3 years of your PhD and an annual stipend for 3 years of £15,009 per annum).

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