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In-situ x-ray and electrochemical characterisation of energy materials


Department of Physics

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Dr Y Grunder No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Electrochemical processes play a crucial role in our daily life and underpin many technologies such as corrosion inhibition, metal plating, energy supply through batteries and energy conversion by fuel cells and solar cells. Electrochemistry deals with reactions that involve transfer of electrical charge at interfaces between an electrode and a chemical species in solution.

Metal-oxide and bimetallic materials play a major role in many different electrochemical applications, including electrolysis, electrocatalysis and energy storage. Oxygen species play a key part in electrocatalytic reactions.

The project will help to establish structure-stability-reactivity relationships of metal electrodes and their oxides which are of high importance to catalytic applications. Elucidating the role of the individual elements and the resulting structure and distribution of electrons for activity and stability will help to design in the future more widely functional materials from a rational design approach.

These processes will be studied by electrochemical methods which will give insight into nucleation, growth process and stability. Combined with structural and spectroscopic x-ray methods details about the bonding and atomic charges can be obtain and directly linked to the electrochemical behaviour.

Training in all aspects of the project will be provided with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure in the University. The student will acquire skills in materials processing and characterisations and in the application of synchrotron radiation for the study of materials.

The experimental work will include laboratory-based characterisation by electrochemical methods and X-Ray methods. Travel to various synchrotron (e.g. ESRF (Grenoble), Diamond (Oxford)) is foreseen for the in-situ characterisation by x-ray scattering methods. The Condensed Matter Physics group and the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy provide an internationally leading research and training environment for PhD students in the fields of Surface & Interface Science, Electrochemistry and Surface Processing.

Prior background in electrochemistry and/or condensed matter physics (especially X-Ray diffraction) would be an advantage. The project may involve the use of computer algebra or numerical methods for data analysis. Some programming skills and background in computer science would be helpful but not necessary. The successful candidate should have or expect to have at least a 2:1 degree or equivalent in Physics and/or Chemistry.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr Yvonne Grunder on +44(0)1517952156, email [Email Address Removed].

To apply for this opportunity please visit: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/how-to-apply/ Please quote studentship reference PPPR008 in the funding section of the application form.


Funding Notes

The funding for this position is from an EPSRC DTP studentship. Applications from candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome – please refer to the EPSRC Website, https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/guidance-on-epsrc-studentships/eligibility/. The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. The maintenance grant is £15,285 pa for 2021/22, with the possibility of an increase for 2022/23.
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