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Optimising safe electrochemical performance in nanoparticulate lithium-ion battery conversion anodes through smart synthetic control


Project Description

A fully funded PhD studentship is available for the study of novel conversion anode materials for lithium-ion batteries. The project will involve using our emergent and flexible set of synthesis methods based on biotemplating, which enable rapid and controllable formation of novel nanoscale crystal shapes in oxide materials. This gives a powerful new route to optimising the electrochemical performance of a material via control of particle morphology. We will use a wide range of techniques to fully understand the fundamental processes involved in both synthetic crystallisation and optimisation of functional properties - e.g. X-ray and neutron diffraction, total scattering methods, electron microscopy, battery testing, and a range of spectroscopies (Raman, muon, and impedance). This project will also make good use of new world-class operando diffraction facilities in Sheffield, allowing us to study changes in crystal structure during battery charging/discharging.

The ultimate aim of this project is to develop new conversion anode materials capable of storing significantly more charge than anode materials currently in use commercially. The methods used and approaches taken will be of huge relevance to the wider study of energy storage and other functional materials.

The candidate will work alongside an experienced research team at the University of Sheffield. The Department of Materials Science and Engineering has world-leading facilities for materials synthesis and characterisation, which we will complement by making extensive use of synchrotron and neutron sources both in the UK (Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, Didcot) and abroad (Grenoble, France).

Applicants should have some knowledge of solid state chemistry, materials processing or ceramic science (e.g. applicants should have a BSc II-i or above in Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, or another relevant degree).

This project is funded in part by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, via the ICON scheme. The LRF is a leading supporter of engineering-related research, training and education that makes a real difference in improving the safety of the critical infrastructure on which modern society relies. As a Lloyd’s Register Foundation doctoral student, the candidate will engage with the global ICON network and have the opportunity for funded travel and study visits accordingly.

The University of Sheffield is committed to building a motivated and diverse University community, where staff and students demand the highest standards from each other and work together to maximise the benefits of difference. We aim to create a corporate culture that is inclusive at all levels and in every system and process. Through our Equality and Diversity Strategy and Action Plans - Excellence Through Inclusion - we will work with and listen to people from across the University and beyond, to hear and help them tell the positive stories about what we have achieved already through inclusion and what we should be doing in the future.

Early application is encouraged as if a suitable candidate is found then the advert may close before the end date.

Funding Notes

Funding covers home tuition fees and annual maintenance payments of at least the Research Council minimum for eligible UK and EU applicants. EU nationals must have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the programme to be eligible for a full award (fees and stipend).

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?
Materials Science and Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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