PhD position | Development of disordered electrode materials for next-generation batteries Reactor Institute, TU Delft (Delft, the Netherlands) and CIC energiGUNE (Vitoria, Spain)
#materials #batteries #energytransition
topic | We will be investigating a new class of materials featuring atomic-scale disorder between mobile light metal ions (A e.g. Li+, Na+) and transition metals (M; e.g. Co, Fe). This is a new concept, in stark contrast to conventional electrode materials in which A and M are perfectly segregated in alternating atomic layers. The disordered materials have already shown great promise for increased performance (higher capacity, higher rate capability, slower aging) that could translate directly to lighter, faster-charging, longer-lasting next-generation batteries, respectively. Beyond performance, the disordered concept allows for more flexibility on the choice of transition metal(s) used which directly affects the economic potential and societal impact in view of battery mass-production. Current state-of-the-art lithium-ion technology heavily relies on cobalt and nickel. These are both rather rare, costly-to-produce (and in the case of cobalt, ethically unacceptable, see e.g. link) metals which go directly against the principles of sustainability, environmental protection and the green energy transition. Disordered structures can accommodate cheap, benign, abundant transition metals such as iron and manganese, paving the way for sustainable mass-deployment of electrochemical energy storage for electric vehicles (electromobility) and renewable energy sources (grid scale). For a deeper dive into the concept and problematics around disordered electrodes, the interested candidate are invited to watch a recent webinar of Prof. G. Ceder on the topic (link).
The candidate will be tasked with the rational synthesis of novel compositions of disordered electrode materials by such means as e.g. solid-state synthesis or mechanochemistry. The average and local structure and atomic-scale disorder will be characterized by advanced diffraction techniques, and the electrical and electrochemical properties via integration in electrochemical cells. The behavior of the materials in working battery cells will be probed directly, leveraging the expertise of the host groups for operando experiments, coupling electrochemical cycling with e.g. diffraction, x-ray spectroscopy and/or NMR spectroscopy. In this manner, the best materials will be selected for long-term cycling and applications in next- generation battery concepts, in particular solid-state batteries in conjunction with solid electrolytes.
research environment | the position is partly funded by ALISTORE ERI (alistore.eu), a European consortium of research groups and industrial partners in the field of electrochemical energy storage. The candidate will be part of two labs (1) the Storage of Electrochemical Energy group @ Delft led by Prof. M. Wagemaker and (2) the Advanced Electrode Materials group @ CICe led by Dr. M. Cabanas. He/she will be based in Delft with frequent travels to Vitoria and other ALISTORE partners. The candidate will be supervised on a daily basis by Dr. T. Famprikis (Delft) and Dr. M. Reynaud (Vitoria).
candidate profile | enjoys playing in the lab, travelling and collaborating / eager to learn, open-minded, creative, confident, good with his/her hands, well organized / degree in physics, chemistry, materials or related discipline
contract | 4-year employment @ TU Delft / ca. 2500-3100 € gross monthly salary / ideal start: fall 2022