PhD: Composite Materials Processing for Solid State Batteries

A fully funded PhD studentship is available for the study of synthesis, preparation, and materials processing of new metal oxides to deliver all Solid State Batteries. This involves the synthesis of solid state electrolyte materials and development of chemistry to form these into bulk thick-film devices with tailored porosity and electrode interfaces. We use a variety of techniques to characterise these materials over length scales from the interatomic (e.g. x-ray and neutron diffraction), microscopic (electron microscopy) up to the macro scale (surface area measurements).

The ultimate aim of this work is a reliable, scalable route to >100g quantites of state-of-the-art solid electrolytes that enable the safe use of metallic lithium in next-generation battery in which all components are in the solid state. This promises a step-change in energy density, a reduction in battery volume and hence will enable large increases in the range of electric automobiles.

The candidate will work alongside our experienced research team at the University of Sheffield. The Department of Materials Science and Engineering has world-leading facilities for synthesis and characterisation of these materials. We complement these by making extensive use of neutron sources both in the UK (Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, Didcot) and abroad (Grenoble, France).

Applicants should have some knowledge of solid state chemistry, materials processing or ceramic science (e.g. applicants should have a BSc II-i or above in Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, or another relevant degree).

The most important attributes of a good applicant are an inquisitive approach and the ability to learn. Experience of solid state materials, diffraction, magnetism or materials testing is welcomed but not necessary as these skills already exist in the team and you will rapidly develop these as you progress.

This position is funded for 42 months by the Faraday Institution and provides an opportunity to interact with project partners around the UK in delivering the breakthrough technology designed to accelerate the electrification of the global transport fleet. The Faraday Institution Cluster PhD students receive an enhanced stipend over and above the standard EPSRC offer. The total annual stipend is approximately £20,000 plus an additional £7,000 annually to cover training and travel costs. Recipients will have access to multiple networking opportunities, industry visits, mentorship, internships, as well as quality experiences that will further develop knowledge, skills, and aspirations

The University of Sheffield is committed to building a motivated and diverse University community, where staff and students demand the highest standards from each other and work together to maximise the benefits of difference.

We aim to create a corporate culture that is inclusive at all levels and in every system and process. Through our Equality and Diversity Strategy and Action Plans – Excellence Through Inclusion – we will work with and listen to people from across the University and beyond, to hear and help them tell the positive stories about what we have achieved already through inclusion and what we should be doing in the future.

Further details and how to apply here.