Solid-state Li metal batteries (SSLMBs) are an emerging type of battery that uses a solid-state electrolyte (SSE) material to replace the conventional flammable liquid electrolyte. A piece of Li metal foil replaces the conventional graphite anode. SSLMBs have the potential for improving battery operational safety while doubling the specific energy of current Li ion batteries. However, two main obstacles that restrict the energy storage performance of SSLMBs are low ion diffusivity of the SSE and low capacity of the cathode material to match that of the Li metal anode. Although some high capacity cathode 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 that improve Li ion transport kinetics and a new class of conversion cathode materials that increase capacity; (ii) develop new cathode structures that accommodate large volume changes and increase battery cycle life, and (iii) develop the experimental setup which is suitable for X-ray and Neutron tomography measurements of batteries. This studentship 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 processes of Li diffusion, insertion and extraction in SSLMBs. Observation of morphological changes will inform on how to prevent battery fracture in SSLMBs. This new understanding will contribute to optimising the potentially transformative materials and structures of SSE and cathode for the next generation of batteries in order to maintain battery safety while still improving battery specific energy and cycle life.
Applications for this studentship are now open. Please click here for further information.
The deadline for applications is 22 March 2021.
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