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Understanding ion mobility mechanisms in solid electrolytes (Ref: ReNU/Johnston)

Project Description

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities, for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training. The start date is 1st October 2020.

The Li-ion battery is considered the technology of choice for energy storage in an array of
portable electronic devices. However, its application is currently limited by its use of
flammable liquid electrolytes, which pose a serious safety risk. As a result, in recent years
there has been a considerable push towards the development of all-solid-state batteries
and, in particular, new solid electrolyte materials.
This project aims to design, synthesise and model new solid electrolyte materials for allsolid-
state batteries. Understanding the relationship between structure and functionality is
key if the performance of electrolytes is to be improved. During this project a number of
different electrolyte materials will be prepared and characterised. To gain a comprehensive
structural understanding, a number of complementary characterisation techniques will be
used, including X-ray and neutron powder diffraction and solid-state NMR spectroscopy.
The effects of different synthetic methods and compositional doping will also be explored
to determine their influence on both the local structure and resulting conductivity. In
addition, molecular dynamics and density functional theory simulations will be used
alongside experimental methods to gain insight into feasible ion mobility mechanisms
within such systems. The information gained will be used to design new materials
exhibiting optimal ion mobility.

For enquiries about this project, please contact Dr Karen Johnston at .

For this project you must apply through the Durham University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account. To do this please navigate to and select ‘Apply now’ followed by ‘Apply for postgraduate study.’

When completing your application, please ensure that you note that you are applying for the appropriate ReNU project by completing the application fields as follows:

Course details
• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you been in contact with a potential supervisor?’
• Complete the ‘intended supervisor’s name’ with ReNU/Johnston
• Complete Chemistry as the Department

• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you applied, or are you going to apply for a scholarship?
• Select ‘other’ from the drop-down list under, ‘Please indicate which scholarship you have applied for’
• Complete ‘Please enter the name of the Scholarship you have applied for or will be applying for’ with ReNU/Johnston

The application closing date is January 31st and interviews will take place in February.

The applicant is expected to have a 1st or 2:1 class honours degree, or postgraduate Masters (preferably at Merit level) in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science or a related subject as well as an appropriate IELTS score if required. Applicants should not be engaged with Doctoral study at Durham or elsewhere.

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full Home fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rates (for 2019/20, this was £15,009 pa). Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

Please note that the scholarship award is set at the Home/EU level of fees. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. Note that up to 4 offers of a PhD place will be made for the ReNU CDT projects advertised by Durham University.

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