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New approaches to the cathode-solid electrolyte interface in the manufacture of solid-state batteries


Project Description

To reduce climate change and local pollution the combustion engine must be replaced by an electric drivetrain supplied by safe, high energy density, high power density, and long-life rechargeable batteries. Solid-state batteries (SSBs) are attractive for this application because they use non-flammable solid-electrolytes that are inherently safe, and high energy density Li-metal anodes and high voltage cathodes that are unstable in conventional liquid electrolytes. However, SSB manufacturing is immature and unsatisfactory in some aspects, in particular there is a lack of knowledge in how to manufacture interfaces between the solid-state electrolyte and the cathode material that can withstand the expansion/contraction during battery charge/discharge (a problem that does not arise in a conventional Li ion battery where the liquid electrolyte is always in contact with electrochemically active material in the cathode). This is one of the most significant issues facing the viability of SSBs.

The project will investigate new ideas for manufacturing SSBs using variants of additive manufacture, 3D printing and templating to improve the robustness of the cathode response to long term charge/discharge cycling. Alongside manufacturing research and energy storage performance, the work will involve working with modelling researchers to understand how to design better energy storage devices from a microstructural point of view (porosity, particle size, grading, etc), and 3D microstructural characterisation of devices using 3D sectioning/reconstruction and X-ray tomography.

This Faraday Institution-funded 4-year DPhil in Materials studentship will provide full fees and maintenance for a student with home fee status (this status includes an EU student who has spent the previous three years (or more) in the UK undertaking undergraduate study). The stipend will be at least £20,000 per year. Candidates with EU fee status are eligible for a fees-only award, but would have to provide funding for their living costs from another source such as personal funds or a scholarship. Information on fee status can be found at http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/fees-and-funding/fees-and-other-charges.

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Professor Patrick Grant, Mauro Pasta or Professor Peter Bruce (; or ). General enquiries on how to apply can be made by e mail to . You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies. Further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found at http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/apply/index.html.

Funding Notes

This Faraday Institution-funded 4-year DPhil in Materials studentship will provide full fees and maintenance for a student with home fee status (this status includes an EU student who has spent the previous three years (or more) in the UK undertaking undergraduate study). The stipend will be at least £20,000 per year. Candidates with EU fee status are eligible for a fees-only award, but would have to provide funding for their living costs from another source such as personal funds or a scholarship. Information on fee status can be found at View Website.

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