Vacancies

Vacancies

PhD studentship:

Bifunctional Hybrid Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Evolution and Oxygen Reduction Reactions

Project Description

This project will apply innovative processing techniques to the development of new hybrid bifunctional electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution and reduction reactions, including electrospinning, hydrothermal, sol-gel and electrodeposition techniques and combinations of those. Electrochemical energy conversion and storage technologies (PEM water electrolysers, fuel cells and metal-air batteries) convert directly fuels to electricity carried by H+, OH- or Mn+, and rely greatly on ORR and OER electrocatalyst to perform this process. In order to accelerate the commercialisation of these devices, cost-efficient, stable and non-noble metal catalysts are needed. The main challenge in designing these electrode materials is to achieve an acceptable and selective performance for both OER and ORR, processes known to be kinetically slow and to involve multiple intermediates. Most of the state-of-the-art bifunctional catalysts suffer from low activity, high overvoltage between OER and ORR, low stability or high cost. This present an enormous limitation to the development of these energy conversion and storage technologies. The oxygen electrocatalysts will consist of N-doped C and transition metal oxide perovskite (ABO3, A= La, Ba, Sr; B= Co, Mn, Ni, Fe) hybrid materials. This PhD project aims to uncover the structural features and mechanisms involved in their catalytic activity and that drive their good performance and stability, i.e. the structure-property relationship.

This PhD project will give the successful candidate the opportunity to design, create and test new nanostructured hybrid electroactive systems for oxygen electrocatalysis. The materials will be characterised firstly in terms of structural properties (porosity, particle size, homogeneity, surface area, order), stability (in air, acid and alkaline media). For this, XRD, BET, SEM, TEM, AFM, TGA, DSC and Raman spectroscopy will be employed. A solid background in electrochemical techniques and materials science is essential. Experience using characterisation equipment typically employed in materials research is also an advantage.

QMUL Research Studentship Details
• Available to Home/EU Applicants only.
• Full Time programme only
• Applicant required to start in September/October 2017
• The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to three years (Currently set as £16,296 in 2016/17).
• The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
• If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6 in Writing and 5.5 in all other sections (Reading, Listening and Speaking).
• Please Note that this studentship is only available to Home/EU Applicants. (See: http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/money/feestatus/ for details)

Supervisor Contact Details:
For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Ana Belen Jorge Sobrido
Tel: 020 7882 5582
E-mail:
Application Method:
To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Materials Science programme (Full Time, Semester 1 start) please follow the instructions detailed in section 3 of the following webpage:
http://www.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/subjects/materials/index.html

Further Guidance available via: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate/applyresearchdegrees/index.html

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2017 SEMS ABJS’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.

Deadline for applications: 31st July 2017

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PhD studentship: “Photoelectrocatalysts for Solar Energy Conversion”

Starting October 2017 – to work in Dr. Ana Jorge Sobrido’s research group in the School of Engineering and Materials Science and the Materials Research Institute at Queen Mary University

The Dr. Ana Jorge Sobrido’s research group focusses on synthesis, processing and optimisation of electrocatalysts and photoelectrocatalysts for sustainable energy technologies. Dr. Jorge is currently offering a 3-year fully funded PhD scholarship at the Materials Research Institute (MRI) and the School of Engineering and Materials Science (SEMS) of Queen Mary University of London starting in October 2017.

The search for green alternative sources of energy is of great importance in order to battle increasing greenhouse gases and global warming, and to meet the UK’s 2050 climate change targets. Among the several technologies that have been proposed to tackle global warming, hydrogen production via photoelectrochemical processes constitutes a promising and efficient approach for hydrogen production from water splitting. The high cost of the noble metal catalysts, essential for the efficient performance of these devices, is one of the major drawbacks to their development in the current market. In this respect, effort should be put into designing advanced structures, hybrid photoelectrocatalytic systems with higher efficiencies. Specifically, more attention needs to be paid into the oxygen evolution reaction, where the energy loss is highest.

This PhD project will give the successful candidate the opportunity to design, create and test new nanostructured hybrid photoactive systems for water splitting. Some of the materials investigated will include transition metal oxide and oxynitrides, N-doped C and others. Innovative processing techniques such as electrospinning or 3D-printing will be also used. The materials will be characterised firstly in terms of structural properties (porosity, particle size, homogeneity, surface area, order), stability (in air, acid and alkaline media) and optoelectronic features (absorption spectrum, photoluminescence, band-gap calculations). For this, XRD, BET, SEM, TEM, AFM, TGA, DSC, FTIR, Raman, UV-visible will be employed. Selected systems will be tested for photoelectrochemical water splitting and incident to photon to charge carrier efficiencies (IPCE) and H2 and O2 evolved will be determined. A solid background in electrochemical techniques and materials science is essential. Experience using characterisation equipment typically employed in materials research is also an advantage (XRD, UV-Vis, TGA, DSC, AFM, FTIR, Raman, BET, SEM, TEM).

QMUL Research Studentship Details (deadline for applications: 15th March 2017)

  • Available to Full Time Home/EU/International Applicants.
  • Applicant required to start in October 2017.
  • The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend (£16,057 in 2017/18) for up to three years.
  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is 2:1 or higher) and MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline (e.g. materials science, electrochemistry, chemical engineering).
  • If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking).
  • International applicants should refer to the following website at http://www.qmul.ac.uk/international/index.html

For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Dr Ana Sobrido; e-mail: a.sobrido@qmul.ac.uk