SHORT DESCRIPTION

PhD position in fabrication and mechanistic studies of alloy-type electrodes for battery applications


OTHER DETAILS

Ref. num. ALLOYELE_AP_01

PhD Candidate: Alloying Type Electrodes for High-Performance Batteries


IMDEA Materials Institute is a public research organization founded in 2007 by Madrid’s regional government to carry out research of excellence in Material Science and Engineering by attracting talent from all over the world to work in an international and multidisciplinary environment. IMDEA Materials has grown rapidly since its foundation and currently includes more than 120 researchers from 22 nationalities and has become one of the leading research centers in materials in Europe which has received the María de Maeztu seal of excellence from the Spanish government. The research activities have been focused on the areas of materials for transport, energy, and health care and the Institute has state-of-the-art facilities for processing, characterization and simulation of advanced materials. More information can be found at https://materials.imdea.org/

DESCRIPTION

The next battery generation envisaged is based on high capacity electrodes, either with liquid or solid electrolytes. Great advancements have been lately achieved in production of high-capacity electrodes; however, the practical challenges of using such electrodes (e.g., high Si content or Li-based anodes with long cycling performance) yet to be addressed. Such enhanced performance first require a better understanding of the charge storage and failure processes involved and tune the cell components’ compositions and properties accordingly.

The concept of the project is to understand the charge storage propagation/mechanism in alloying-type active materials (e.g., Si electrodes) and develop strategies to enhance their performance, especially in terms of cyclability.

This project deals with fabrication and studying alloying type electrodes (e.g., Si) for battery applications.  Various types and formats of alloying materials including networks of nanowires produced using a new process developed by the group (i.e., grown at ultra-fast rates floating in the gas phase from an aerosol of catalyst nanoparticles) will be evaluated. The overall aim of the PhD is to determine reaction mechanisms and phenomena governing the charge storage and failure of the electrodes during and over cycling. Accordingly, advanced techniques like in-situ and/or in-operando measurements (Raman and X-ray scattering), titration gas chromatography, and various characterization techniques, like electron microscopies (SEM, HRTEM, etc.), will be employed. One of the objectives is to study the alloying reaction mechanism with an emphasis on dry electrodes, and tune the electrodes’ physicochemical properties to boost the performance (e.g., rate capability and cyclability). Another objective is to develop new strategies via surface engineering to mitigate the electrochemical degradation in the electrode-electrolyte interface. The student will continuously help in the design and fabrication of state-of the art active materials and electrode structures for batteries. He/she will perform extensive experiments for fabrication of electrodes, electrolytes, and small lab-size battery cells and will work with atmosphere controlled glove-boxes; regularly conduct multi-scale materials characterization measurements, for example through electron microscopy, spectroscopic techniques and advanced X-ray diffraction. He/she will extensively use electrochemical apparatus/techniques. The PhD student will work in a very collaborative team, funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant. A short secondment in a laboratory of European collaborators is likely.

The successful candidate will receive high-quality training upon their incorporation. Should be self-organized and capable to collect/analyze large amount of data, prepare regular reports and inform their supervisor(s) about the work progress in regular meetings.  Will be expected to absorb new information fast, have problem-solving and questioning mindset as soft skills.

Dissemination of the results in project meetings, publications, participating in conferences, etc. is one of the general objective of the project.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Master’s and undergraduate degree in a discipline related to electrochemistry, inorganic chemistry, nanofabrication, materials science or related field.
  • Strong interest in experimental work is essential.
  • Previous experience on electrochemical systems, batteries, alloying reactions (electrochemical), familiarity with potentiostats/galvanostats and/or preparation of solid-state electrolyte, fabrication of electrodes and devices will be positively evaluated.
  • Command of written and spoken English is a prerequisite.

CONDITIONS

  • Screening of candidates will begin immediately. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an initial interview via Zoom, even before the closing date.
  • Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to ensure best consideration of their application.
  • The expected start date is September 1st 2022 (depending on availability).
  • The position includes a full-time contract with social security coverage.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The working language of the Institute is English. Full command of the English language is required in all positions.

IMDEA Materials Institute is committed to equal opportunities, diversity and the promotion of a healthy work environment and work-life balance. Female applicants are encouraged to apply to our research and technical positions. See our Gender Equality Plan here.

Applications are processed upon reception. The position might be closed once the minimum publication days have passed, so we encourage early application.

Besides on-the-job technical training, IMDEA Materials Institute is committed to training the Institute’s scientists and staff in “soft” or transversal skills. See the available training here.

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