Hardwick Group

Opportunities

Informal enquiries are welcome. Please address these to Prof. Hardwick (hardwick@liverpool.ac.uk).

 

Available Postdoctoral Fellowships 

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Earth Abundant Metal-Oxygen Batteries

This project is centred on the investigation of Na and Ca metal-air batteries using earth abundant metals that offer a low cost and easily raw material resourced high-energy storage battery system that will supplant present day Li-ion batteries. Earth abundant metal-air batteries potentially offer a much greater energy storage and power capability than current batteries such as lithium ion, in addition to their abundance worldwide. In order to achieve progress in the field of such calcium and sodium batteries and their subsequent development, mechanistic understanding of the cell chemistry and the required materials, and cell structure, needs to be understood. The project will construct Labscale test cells that will be tested in oxygen (air) and oxygen (air)/carbon dioxide mixtures. More information available here.

  

Available PhD Studentships

Shining Light on Electrochemical Reactions

Understanding the properties and mechanistic detail of electrochemical or catalytic reactions at the interface at a molecular level is critical for developing energy systems e.g. batteries; supercapacitors; fuel cells, water-splitting catalysts. Shell-Isolated Nanoparticles for Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SHINERS) is a powerful technique for surface analysis. In principle, any type of electrode substrate can be used since the amplification of the Raman signal comes from the gold core embedded within an ultrathin (ca. 2 nm) silica shell. This allows the detection of intermediates and products on any electrode surface during an electrochemical reaction and highlights a very powerful method at accessing reaction pathways and relating them directly to surface structure.

The PhD project would focus on using SHINERS on electrode substrates to investigate important fundamental reactions such as water splitting, carbon dioxide reaction, and electrochemical reactions involving oxygen. More information available here.

 

Microstructure Engineering of Hypercrosslinked Polymers for Rechargeable Batteries Beyond Lithium-ion Batteries

Although Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are considered to be one of the most successful electrochemical power sources and have been widely used in many applications, LIBs are being hampered by the limited natural reserves and high cost of lithium as well as the safety issues. The PhD project will involve the function design and microstructure development of hypercrosslinked polymers (HCPs) as the electrode materials and solid-state electrolytes for rechargeable batteries beyond LIBs. 

A key feature of this collaborative programme is the training of PhD student in the application of these experimental techniques and theoretical models. The PhD student will spend 2 years studying at National Tsing Hua University and 2 years at the University of Liverpool under the bilaterally agreed 2+2 scheme between the two institutions.  More information available here.

  

Available CHEM480 4th Year MCHEM Projects for 2018/2019 Academic Year

Project 1: SHINing Light on Electrochemical Reactions in Metal-Oxygen Batteries

Understanding the properties and mechanistic detail of electrochemical or catalytic reactions at the interface at a molecular level is critical for developing energy systems such as metal-oxygen batteries. Shell-Isolated Nanoparticles for Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SHINERS) is a powerful technique for surface analysis. In principle, any type of electrode substrate can be used since the amplification of the Raman signal comes from the gold core embedded within an ultrathin (ca. 2 nm) silica shell. This allows the detection of intermediates and products on any electrode surface during an electrochemical reaction and highlights a very powerful method at accessing reaction pathways and relating them directly to surface structure.

The MChem project would investigate the shelf life, enhancement life, pinhole free life, temperature and pH stability of SHIN particles and the optimisation of particle distribution on the surface, as well as an electrochemical studies on oxygen reduction reaction on under potential deposition of metal layers on single crystal platinum. The MChem project student will expect to obtain training and skills in working as part of a research group, frontier battery research, Raman microscopy, electrochemistry and data analysis.

For recent literature examples and background see:

Shell Isolated Nanoparticles for Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Studies in Lithium-Oxygen Cells, Faraday Discuss., 205 (2017) 469 DOI

Utilizing In Situ Electrochemical SHINERS for Oxygen Reduction Reaction Studies in Aprotic Electrolytes, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 7 (2016) 2119 DOI

For further information, please contact Professor Hardwick and Dr Galloway.

 

Project 2: Ion coordination in Novel Electrolytes for Li Metal Batteries

The coordination environment of the lithium ion (Li+) and the organic solvent is an important factor determining its electrochemical stability, particularly against lithium metal. Raman microscopy and infrared spectroscopy have shown to be very powerful tools in understanding the local coordination structure in complex electrolyte mixtures.

The MChem project would investigate a series of novel Li-ion electrolyte blends using Raman microscopy and infrared spectroscopy in which the ratios of each component are varied. The effect of temperature (-20 to +80 oC ) on the coordination structure of these blends will be also studied. The MChem project student will expect to obtain training and skills in working as part of a research group, frontier battery research, battery electrolyte formulation, Raman microscopy, infrared spectroscopy and data analysis.

For recent literature examples and background see:

Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Highly Concentrated Electrolyte Solutions of Lithium Bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)amide/Dimethyl Sulfoxide J. Phys. Chem. C, 121 (2017) 9162 DOI

Lithium Metal Anodes: Toward an Improved Understanding of Coupled Morphological, Electrochemical, and Mechanical Behavior ACS Energy Lett.2 (2017) 664 DOI

For further information, please contact Professor Hardwick and Dr Neale.

 

Further Information 

Please also see our centralised job web pages for current opportunities.