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Structure-property relationships in new electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries

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

Project Description

Sodium-ion batteries (NIBs) have attracted attention in recent years because of the high natural abundance of sodium compared to lithium. This makes NIBs particularly attractive in applications such as large-scale grid storage where low cost and sustainability, rather than energy density is the key requirement. This project will investigate new conversion electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries. Structure-property relationships in new materials will be elucidated using a combination of combination of electrochemical measurements, X-ray structural characterisation and high-throughput computational approaches. 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 first-principles 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 project is expected to be approximately 80% experimental and 20% theoretical chemistry. The University of Birmingham has state-of-the-art electrochemistry and materials characterisation facilities Experiments at central facilities, e.g. Diamond Light Source and the ISIS neutron facility where we are regularly awarded beamtime, will provide high-resolution data to comprehensively analyse the local atomic structure. 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 class 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.

Applications should be made through the University of Birmingham’s online application system. Please contact 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 Dr Phoebe Allan ().

Funding Notes

This project is part of the Global Challenges Scholarship.
The award comprises:

Full payment of tuition fees at UK Research Councils UK/EU fee level (£4,327 in 2019/20), to be paid by the University;
An annual tax-free doctoral stipend at UK Research Councils UK/EU rates (£15,009 for 2019/20), to be paid in monthly instalments to the Global Challenges scholar by the University;
The tenure of the award can be for up to 3.5 years (42 months).

References

[1] Lui, Z. et al., Energy Environ. Sci., 2017,10, 1576-1580
[2] Chem. Mater 27 (3), 1031-1041 (2015), J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138 (7), 2352-2365 (2016), J. Am. Chem. Soc., 139 (21), pp 7273–7286. (2017).

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