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Local atomic and nanometric structure-property correlations in Na-ion and K-ion battery materials

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, July 31, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

A fully funded PhD studentship is available for a highly motivated applicant who will work under the supervision of Dr. Yang Xu at the Department of Chemistry.

The quest for alternatives of Li-ion batteries (LIBs) has been an active area of battery research. Na-ion batteries (NIBs) and K-ion batteries (KIBs) are considered to be promising alternatives, as from a theoretical perspective (regardless of the performance of available materials), they have comparable specific energy and energy density to LIBs with respect to the weight of various components in a common battery form. The focus of our research is to investigate local atomic and nanometric structure property correlations and to demonstrate design principles for emerging energy materials and devices in NIBs and KIBs, through rational synthesis and in-depth characterizations combined with computational methods. We pay special attention to utilizing defects in the materials to facilitate charge transfer/transport and understanding the underlying mechanisms. We are interested in the fundamental science at the solid-liquid/solid-solid interfaces and the interplay between the interfaces and local electrochemical reactivity. Details of the research activities of Dr. Xu can be found at:

The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a good honours degree (first or upper second)in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or a related subject. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and theability to think creatively and rigorously. An enquiring and exploring approach to research as well as excellent team-work, observational and communication skills (both presentation and writing skills in English) is also essential. Previous research experience in battery research is highly desirable.

Funding Notes

UK/EU students are eligible for this studentship, which will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a stipend (tax free) for three years. The start date for the PhD position is September 23rd, 2019. The deadline for application is July 31st, with interviews to be held, but the position will be filled as soon as a suitable applicant is selected.


Applicants should email a letter of motivation, a degree transcript, an up-to-date CV and contact info for two referees directly to Dr. Xu ([email protected]), who may also be approached for informal enquiries. The suitable candidate will be required to complete an electronic application form at Any admission queries should be directed to Dr. Jadranka Butorac ([email protected]).

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