PhD Studentship: Investigation of Novel Electrode Structure for a New Class of Conversion Electrode Materials in Solid-state Batteries by Operando X-ray and Neutron Imaging


Harwell, London

About the Project

Solid-state Li metal batteries (SSLMBs) are an emerging technology that uses a solid-state electrolyte (SSE) material to replace a flammable liquid electrolyte. A piece of Li metal foil replaces the conventional graphite anode. SSLMBs have potential for improving battery operational safety while doubling the specific energy of current Li ion batteries. Two main obstacles that restrict the energy storage performance of SSLMBs are low ion diffusivity in the SSE and low capacity of the cathode material to match that of the Li metal anode. Although some high capacity electrode materials have been proposed, these materials usually undergo significant volume changes during battery charge and discharge that can fracture the entire battery.

This studentship project aims to (i) develop new SSE materials and a new class of conversion electrode materials that increase capacity; (ii) develop new electrodes that accommodate large volume changes and increase battery cycle life, and (iii) develop an experimental setup suitable for X-ray and Neutron tomography measurements on functioning batteries. The project will use novel synchrotron X-ray Compton scattering imaging, X-ray computed tomography (XCT) and neutron tomography to reveal the effects of materials and structures on the dynamic Li in SSLMBs. Observation of morphological changes will inform on how to prevent battery fracture in SSLMBs. This new understanding will contribute to optimising the materials and structures of SSE and electrodes for the next generation of batteries in order to maintain battery safety, while improving battery specific energy and cycle life. As well as working at King’s College in the heart of London, the student will spend some time at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. There they will be using world-class X-ray and neutron imaging facilities at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron and the Neutron and Muon Source.

Application Procedure

King’s College London, Diamond Light Source and ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, Oxfordshire, invite talented candidates interested in pursuing a PhD in cross-disciplinary research to apply for this position, starting from Oct 2021

Supervisor at KCL: Dr. Ann Huang.

Co-supervisors: Dr. Thomas Connolley (Diamond Light Source), Dr. Oxana Magdysyuk (Diamond Light Source) and Dr. Genoveva Burca (Neutron and Muon Source).

Please apply online using the King’s Apply system:

Further details of the application process are available at:

Select the option Engineering MPhil/PhD and indicate your desired supervisors in your application and all correspondence.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible and to send a copy of their application to

Applications will be considered as soon as received.

An offer will be made once suitable candidates have been interviewed.

Funding Notes

This four-year enhanced PhD studentship (£17,488 per year) will provide full tuition fees and living expenses for a student with home fee status. This status also includes EU students who have spent the previous three years or more in the UK prior to the start date of their PhD.