PhD: Understanding Ionic Liquid Electrochemical Stability – Towards Superior Electrochemical Devices


Achieving a sustainable energy supply is one of the most urgent challenges facing the world. Fossil fuels contribute to climate change and their supply is finite. Alternative energy sources, e.g. solar and wind, offer fantastic possibilities for replacing fossil fuels. However, intermittent production means that dramatic improvements in energy storage are required. The incredible properties of ionic liquids (ILs) mean that there is huge potential for the use of ILs in electrochemical energy storage devices, e.g. batteries for phones and supercapacitors for cars. For electrochemical energy storage devices determining what happens when ILs are subjected to voltage (i.e. electrical energy) is paramount. When the voltage is outside the safe operating range, the IL will decompose and the device will malfunction. The student will use cutting-edge spectroscopy and spectrometry experiments to understand how to extend the operating range of ILs used in applications, including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS, at the University of Reading and at the National XPS facility, Harwell) and synchrotron techniques (resonant Auger electron spectroscopy (RAES), X-ray emission spectroscopy, (XES), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), e.g. I09 at Diamond Light Source, Harwell). The PhD student will also have opportunity to work closely with the group of Dr. Tricia Hunt (Imperial College London), including the potential for carrying out calculations themselves. An interest in both physical chemistry and spectroscopy are required. Training in all aspects of the Ph.D. will be provided.

Further details and how to apply here.