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PhD Studentship – “Separating ion and electron transport kinetics in aqueous ion storage battery materials”

  • Full or part time
    Prof A Russell
  • Application Deadline
    Saturday, March 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

co supervisor: Dr. Monica Amobage, Diamond Light Source

PhD Description: During this project you will develop an understanding of the relative rates of electron and ion transport in aqueous metal-ion storage batteries; determining the factors that influence battery capacity, charging and discharge rates, and cycle life. Such electrodes represent a viable solution to grid-scale storage.

We will use operando energy dispersive EXAFS (EDE) to follow the changes in the oxidation state of the metal ions that make up the electrode material during charging and discharge in real time. The Prussian blue analogue (PBA) materials have been selected as exemplars of cathode materials for Na and Zn ion storage. They have good capacities, but increased mechanistic understanding is needed to fully understand their operation and direct a more rational approach to the design of the next generation of materials.

You will prepare the PBA materials, fully characterise them using a variety of methods including XRD and SEM, prepare these as battery electrodes and characterise their electrochemical performance as sodium and zinc ion storage electrodes. This will provide you with a range of skills transferrable to the study of other battery chemistries.

Starting with operando cell designs previously developed in our group you will adapt these so that the EDE data will be characteristic of the conditions of the optimised battery cell. You will then collect and analyse the EDE data and implement combined EDE and XRD on the I20 beamline. This will provide you with a range of skills transferrable to the study of other materials and catalysts.

You will be based at the University of Southampton in the laboratory of Prof. Andrea Russell. You will be seconded to the Diamond Light Source for approximately half of your time to work with Dr. Monica Amboage, to complete your EDE measurements and participate in developments on the I20 beamline.

Funding Notes

The project is funded for 3.5 years and welcomes applicants from the UK and EU who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class degree in Chemistry or allied subjects/relevant disciplines. Funding will cover fees and a stipend at current research council rates per annum. (predicated 201920 rates are £15.009)

Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK students and EU students who meet the RCUK eligibility criteria


Applications for a PhD in Chemistry should be submitted online at

Click on the Research radio button, select 2019-20 in the academic year field and enter Chemistry in the search text field. Click ‘search for programme’. Select PhD Chemistry (Full Time).

Please place Prof. Andrea Russell in the field for proposed supervisor/project

General enquiries should be made to Prof. Andrea Russell at [email protected] Any queries on the application process should be made to [email protected]

Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified

The University of Southampton and the School of Chemistry both hold Athena SWAN Silver Awards, reflecting their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, and particularly to gender equality.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.80

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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