Trinity College Dublin (TCD)

Research Fellow, Characterisation & Processing of Advanced Materials

Trinity College Dublin

Dublin, Ireland

Post Title: Research Fellow, Characterisation & Processing of Advanced Materials
Post Status: Fixed-term Contract of 18 months of funding – Full-time.
Research Group / Department / School: AMBER / CRANN / School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin
Location: AML Enterprise Center, Pearse Street / CRANN, Main Campus Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
Reports to: Professor Valeria Nicolosi, Principal Investigator
Salary: Appointment will be made on the appropriate point of the IUA Post-Doctorate Researcher Level 2 salary scale in line with government pay policy i.e. €37,750 – €42,394 gross per annum
Closing Date: 12 Noon (Irish Standard Time),on the Friday 20th of December of 2019

Post Summary
The Characterisation & Processing of Advanced Materials Research Group, led by Professor Valeria Nicolosi, is currently seeking a Research Fellow with significant practical experience in electrochemistry and battery research.

The candidate will have a PhD in Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science or a related discipline, or equivalent experience, with significant postdoctoral research experience in battery research.
This project will use a multidisciplinary approach, whereby novel nanomaterials, existing knowledge on nano-scale processing and established expertise in device fabrication and testing will be brought together to focus on creating more efficient battery technologies. The project is co-led with Prof. Jonathan Coleman (School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin) and Nokia Bell Labs

Background to the Post
The global telecommunications infrastructure is facing a challenge to deliver exponential growth in data traffic carrying capability owing to the proliferation of smart devices (i.e. smart phones and tablets).

Increasing the energy storage capability of lithium-ion batteries necessitates maximization of their areal capacity. This requires thick electrodes performing at near-theoretical specific capacity. However, achievable electrode thicknesses are restricted by mechanical instabilities, with high-thickness performance limited by the attainable electrode conductivity. Recently the AMBER group (J. N. Coleman and V. Nicolosi) showed that using carbon nanotubes as the binder for silicon-based anodes and metal-oxide-based cathodes improves their mechanical properties dramatically, supressing the mechanical instabilities and allowing the fabrication of electrodes with thicknesses of up to 600 μm. The nanotubes form segregated networks with very high conductivity, allowing fast charge distribution within the electrodes and enabling very high areal capacities of up to 20 mAh cm-2. Combining optimised composite anodes/cathodes gives cells with extremely high areal capacities (18 mAh cm-2) and energy densities (450 Wh kg-1).

One of the most prominent issues in LIB technologies is the lack of an electrolyte that enables both the anode and the cathode operation without decomposition on either side. The conventional LIB electrolytes (carbonates), other non‐aqueous ether based solvents (DME and tetraglyme), and ionic liquids, are not stable against the discharge reaction intermediates formed at the oxygen cathode, which are typically the superoxide radical anion (O2.−) and lithium superoxide (LiO2*). These nucleophilic intermediates attack the solvent molecules making them unsuitable for long term operation. In this WP we will tackle cycling stability by investigating alternative electrolyte solutions.

The identified electrolyte must be able to provide long term chemical stability, using a non-flammable electrolyte that avoids large viscosity and ionic conductivity variations at colder temperatures. Our target high volumetric density battery requires electrolytes that can also function at greater than 4V potential.

Once more we will develop a full understanding of the physics, chemistry and materials science associated with these nanostructured electrodes and battery systems. This understanding will be used to optimise the performance of the cell electrolytes under study.
• Identify room temperature ionic liquids (RTIL’s) compatible with the Si/LiCoO2 battery system.
• Investigate other ionic electrolytes
• Investigate electrolyte additives
• Selection and optimization of electrolyte system
• Electrochemical testing of individual electrode/electrolyte interfaces in half-cell configuration
• Full cell electrochemical characterization and performance evaluation
• Cyclability rate

Standard Duties and Responsibilities of the Post
The post holder will be responsible for the development of electrolyte chemistries and will be a highly experienced electrochemist.
A key aspect of this project will be the close collaboration within the rest of the team working in this project.

The post holder will be expected to take on the day-to-day running of the part of the research programme under the direction of Professor Nicolosi, liaising closely with Professor Jonathan Coleman and his group for the fabrication and electrochemical characterisation of the electrodes.

The core tasks are as follows:
- Provide technical leadership in the preparation of organic molecules and polymers to yield novel liquid electrolytes and solid electrolyte interphases.
- Develop and apply quantitative techniques, generally electrochemical in nature, to the study of novel liquid electrolytes and solid-electrolyte interphases, e.g., in symmetric cells and full cells.
- Play a key role in maintaining a robust and inclusive safety culture.
- Publish in peer reviewed journals; contribute to scientific research papers, reports, review articles; present oral reports.
- Coordinate, lead, and contribute to collaborative research activities across key partners in the Hub.
Person Specification

Qualifications
A PhD in Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry or a related discipline. (Essential).
Essential Knowledge and/or Experience
- Significant practical experience, good knowledge in electrochemistry and battery theory
- Demonstrable expertise in electrochemical characterization: impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and galvanostatic charging/discharging
- Demonstrable expertise in both half-cell and full-cell testing
- Demonstrable expertise in electrolyte research
- Proven knowledge of chemistry and electrochemistry.
- Well-organised and self-motivated with the ability to manage the day-to-day running of a research project, to identify research objectives and to carry out appropriate research activities within a given timescale.
- Excellent oral and communication skills, including the proven ability to write in English at a suitable standard for the preparation of written reports, publications and presentations of the work at generalist and specialist levels, including discussions with engineers and scientists in different fields.
- Willingness to travel to collaborators across Europe and worldwide and to conferences to disseminate results.
Desirable Knowledge and/or Experience:
- A strong publication record in internationally peer-reviewed journals
- Experience of working with industrial collaborators.
- Experience in the training and supervision of junior researchers.

Skills & Competencies
- Well-organised and self-motivated with the ability to manage the day-to-day running of a research project, to identify research objectives and to carry out appropriate research activities within a given timescale.
- Excellent oral and communication skills, including the proven ability to write in English at a suitable standard for the preparation of written reports, publications and presentations of the work at generalist and specialist levels, including discussions with engineers and scientists in different fields.
- Willingness to travel to collaborators across Europe and to conferences to disseminate results.

Further Information for Applicants

For additional details on these research positions please contact:
Jesus Barco Montero
CRANN

Trinity College Dublin
barcomoj@tcd.ie

Favorite

Apply with CV and Cover Letter

Must be a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file and no larger than 1MBMust be a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file and no larger than 1MB
Position

Research Fellow, Characterisation & Processing of Advanced Materials