Operando diffraction studies of high voltage materials for Li batteries, three-year PhD program (starting Oct. 2015)
The School of Chemistry at the University of St. Andrews (UK),
The ICMCB-CNRS Laboratory at the University of Bordeaux (France),
The LRCS Laboratory at the University Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens (France)
jointly invite applications for a
three-year PhD program (starting Oct. 2015)
OPERANDO DIFFRACTION STUDIES OF HIGH VOLTAGE MATERIALS FOR LI BATTERIES
This PhD proposal aims at exploiting the availability of new operando techniques in the systematic structural investigation of inorganic materials used as electrodes for lithium- and sodium-ion batteries: determination of phase transformation mechanisms when these materials are reduced/oxidized during battery operation.
The project will involve the synthesis and characterisation of high voltage positive electrode materials such as the lithium nickel manganese spinel LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 and the olivine LiCoPO4. LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 has attracted considerable interest due to its excellent rate capability and high energy density (650 Wh Kg‑1). It occurs in two different forms, depending on preparation temperature. A series of phase transitions has been reported using both in situ and ex situ powder X-ray diffraction. Recent developments mean that in situ neutron diffraction has become an important tool for the study of Li-ion batteries. We have recently built an in situ cell exploiting the properties of a neutron-transparent (Ti,Zr) alloy to obtain reliable electrochemical properties and high quality ND patterns at the same time. Extraction of the important physical/chemical parameters of the material are thus possible and reliable. Now, in tandem with the continued development of the cell, this project will extend the range of materials studied to high voltage positive electrode materials. In addition to in situ / operando studies we will also combine this with ex situ studies.
The PhD project will be spend time at institutions in both the UK and France. Neutron experiments will be carried out in Grenoble (France) at the ILL, whilst complementary experiments will be undertaken at the ALBA synchrotron facility for high resolution XRD and at SOLEIL synchrotron facility for XAS. The successful candidate will be employed for a period of up to three years, with a stipend of around 1757 €/month
Applicants should have a degree from a relevant Master Course (Solid State Chemistry, Solid State Physics, Materials Science, Inorganic Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion …). Academic knowledge of condensed matter physics and excellent communication skills will be highly appreciated. The candidate should also demonstrate abilities to work independently.
Supervisors: Robert Armstrong (St. Andrews) Laurence Croguennec (Bordeaux), Christian Masquelier (Amiens)