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PhD studentship in Materials Chemistry: Next-Generation Cathode Materials

School of Chemistry

About the Project

Wide-spread electrification of vehicular transport is reliant on the development of batteries with high energy density which can extend the achievable range of electric vehicles. Concurrently, there is a push towards batteries with little or no cobalt content in order to improve the sustainability of the battery technology as well as lower the cost. These challenges cannot be met by current electrode materials, necessitating the discovery of new materials with improved electrochemical performance properties. We seek a committed and enthusiastic PhD student to join a team of researchers working as part of the flagship Faraday Institution ‘Next generation lithium-ion cathode materials (CATMAT)’ consortium exploring new high energy cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries.

The Faraday Institution was established in 2017 as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, Faraday Battery Challenge, and is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage science and technology, supporting research, training, and analysis. The CATMAT project aims to transform fundamental understanding of novel cathodes that currently prevent the use of nickel-rich cathode materials (with low or no cobalt) and lithium-rich cathodes. It will identify the most promising new cathode materials, scaling up their synthesis and assimilating them into full battery cells to demonstrate performance.

This PhD project will investigate synthetic routes to new high-energy cathode materials and evaluate their electrochemical performance. Structure-property relationships in new materials will be elucidated using in situ and ex situ x-ray and neutron diffraction, X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), Raman spectroscopy and pair distribution function (PDF) analysis. The information from these studies will aid the design of new electrode materials with optimised electrochemical properties. The project will involve aspects of materials synthesis, electrochemical characterisation and advanced X-ray powder diffraction characterisation and modelling, and will provide extensive training in a range of state-of-the-art research techniques, which are directly applicable to a career in academia or industry. The student will also receive training in a diverse range of transferable skills, ensuring competitiveness in any employment sector.

Candidates should have or expect to receive a first or upper second (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) in chemistry, physics, materials science or other related discipline. Familiarity with solid-state chemistry, electrochemistry or crystallographic methods would be an advantage.

The University of Birmingham was founded in 1900 on an anti-discrimination ethos accepting men and women on an equal basis. Today, as a community of over 150 nationalities in one of the UK’s most vibrant cities, we remain committed to promoting equality, diversity and fairness irrespective of age, disability, gender, pregnancy or marital status, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Applications should be made through the University of Birmingham’s online application system. Please contact Professor Peter Slater or Dr Phoebe Allan in advance of applying, providing a CV and cover letter summarising your research interests and previous experience. Further information can be obtained by emailing Prof. Peter Slater () or Dr Phoebe Allan (). 

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