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University of Portsmouth Featured PhD Programmes
Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes

Experimental Discovery of New Framework Materials as Ionic Conductors

Department of Chemistry

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Prof M J Rosseinsky , Dr J Claridge , Dr LJ Hardwick No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

New inorganic materials are needed to advance technologies such as batteries for electric vehicles and grid storage, and to develop basic science. This PhD project is an exciting opportunity for the experimental synthesis and detailed characterisation of new inorganic solids. The project will combine synthetic solid-state chemistry, advanced structural analysis (crystallography) and measurement of physical properties, with the opportunity to focus on one or more of these aspects during the project. This project will concentrate on the discovery of new materials for advanced battery chemistries.

New battery chemistries, such as those relying on earth-abundant elements, will need new electrolytes. Solid electrolytes are attractive from safety and voltage perspectives. This project tackles the synthesis of new solid electrolytes through the development of new chemistry of framework structures.

Silicate framework materials are a class of micro- and mesoporous inorganic solids that find applications as catalyst supports, in separation and selective adsorption amongst others, due to their extremely high surface areas, with large and uniform pore sizes and high stability. Related framework structures have produced some of the best solid state electrolytes, such as the NASICON structure1-4. This project aims to explore new silicate and structural analogues to silicate frameworks for solid state electrolytes in metal ion (Li, Na, Mg) batteries. The project will make use of new group capabilities (high pressure hydrothermal approaches) for synthesis.
You will work closely with a strong team of computational and experimental material chemists working together in the discovery of new materials. The student will be part of the £8.6 million EPSRC Programme Grant in Integration of Computation and Experiment for Accelerated Materials Discovery, and based in the newly-opened Materials Innovation Factory ( at the University of Liverpool. As well as obtaining knowledge and experience in materials synthesis and crystallographic techniques, the student will develop skills in teamwork and scientific communication, as computational and experimental researchers within the team work closely together. There are extensive opportunities to use synchrotron X-ray and neutron scattering facilities.

Applications are welcomed from students with a 2:1 or higher master’s degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, or Materials Science, particularly those with some of the skills directly relevant to the project outlined above.

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Funding Notes

EPSRC eligibility - Please refer to the EPSRC website View Website

The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. The maintenance grant is £15,009 pa for 2019-20, with the possibility of an increase for 2020/21.

GTA eligibility (EU or non-EU students only)
Depending on the successful applicant this studentship would include a commitment to work up to 77 hours per academic year to help with teaching-related activities. The award will pay full home/EU tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. Non-EU applicants may have to contribute to the higher non-EU overseas fee.


1. Kim, J.; Kim, J.; Avdeev, M.; Yun, H.; Kim, S.-J., LiTa2PO8: a fast lithium-ion conductor with new framework structure. Journal of Materials Chemistry A 2018, 6 (45), 22478-22482.
2. Hung, L.-I.; Wang, S.-L.; Szu, S.-P.; Hsieh, C.-Y.; Kao, H.-M.; Lii, K.-H., Hydrothermal Synthesis, Crystal Structure, Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy, and Ionic Conductivity of Na5InSi4O12, a Silicate Containing a Single 12-Membered Ring. Chem. Mater. 2004, 16 (9), 1660-1666.
3. Pet’kov, V. I.; Sukhanov, M. V.; Shipilov, A. S.; Kurazhkovskaya, V. S.; Borovikova, E. Y.; Pinus, I. Y.; Yaroslavtsev, A. B., Synthesis and properties of LiZr2(AsO4)3 and LiZr2(AsO4)x(PO4)3 − x. Inorg. Mater. 2014, 50 (3), 263-272.
4. Tasi, J.-M.; Tu, P.-T.; Chan, T.-S.; Lii, K.-H., Synthesis and Characterization of Open-Framework Niobium Silicates: Rb2(Nb2O4)(Si2O6)·H2O and the Dehydrated Phase Rb2(Nb2O4)(Si2O6). Inorg. Chem. 2008, 47 (23), 11223-11227.
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