We are pleased to be able to offer the following studentships for a immediate start:

 

1) Studentship in one of our listed project found on the project list.

 

2) In operando analysis of the electrochemical processes governing solid oxide fuel cell electrode degradation.

EPSRC CDT with industry partner, fully funded for 4 years starting October 2017

Oxide based electrochemical cells, such as fuel cells, used for clean energy conversion consist of multiple components, all of which operate at elevated temperatures (>500 oC). Each cell in a stack is expected to operate for periods in excess of 40,000hrs. Electrochemical cells unfortunately suffer from degradation processes that limit both performance and lifetime, and include interfacial reactions, electrical polarisation, and sintering. To fully understand these processes we will use environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (e-SEM) to investigate the behaviour of the electrodes under operating conditions, developing capability in applying electrical load, temperature and gas atmosphere to cells. In addition we will use our unique plasma FIB-SIMS instrument to probe diffusion at the microstructural scale, and correlate these measurements with the operando e-SEM data. We will investigate both fresh and aged samples, in partnership with our industry colleagues, and this will provide detailed models of the mechanisms driving degradation, allowing improved devices to be developed.

You will join the Centre for Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials, where you will receive structured training in a number of key characterisation techniques, as part of a cohort of students.

To apply for this position please click here for details of our application process

Closing date: 31st August 2017.

3) Hydrogen Production for Clean Energy

EPSRC CDT with industry partner, fully funded for 4 years starting October 2017

We are inviting applications for a fully funded 4-year PhD project in the area of surface chemical physics in Prof Geoff Thornton’s research group at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, and in close collaboration with Imperial College and Diamond Light Source. Read more

Two polymorphs of TiO2, rutile and anatase remain the subject of intense research associated with their photocatalytic properties. Indeed, understanding how the TiO2/water system works at the level of individual atoms and molecules is one of the grand challenges of contemporary physical science. In this project we will investigate the photostability of the TiO2/water interfaces, with the aim of characterising the species generated on single crystal substrates by a UV Hg lamp. This will employ UHV scanning tunnelling microscopy/spectroscopy and photoemission at UCL as well as UHV and high pressure photoemission at Imperial and Diamond Light Source.

STM and photoemission are the techniques of choice to look at local changes to the structure and electronic properties induced by UV light. For STM we will use a method developed at UCL to form a clean interface by dipping the single crystal in water, which forms a 2×1 ordered overlayer of terminal OH groups after pumping off the physisorbed water. The dipped surface can be UV-irradiated in-situ before examining the pumped-off surface in UHV with STM as well as XPS, UPS and scanning tunnelling spectroscopy in the same instrument at UCL. Together, these data will allow UV-generated chemical species to be identified and mechanisms to be derived. This will be used to inform our overall understanding of the photocatalysis process. To complement this we will also perform high-pressure photoelectron spectroscopy (HiPPES) measurements at Imperial. This will be done using a recently commissioned state-of-the-art instrument capable of performing photoemission measurements at water pressure greater than 25 mbar. We will also be able to irradiate the surface in-situ using an in-built UV lamp as well as studying the role of co-adsobents (such as O2) on the TiO2/water interface.

You will join the Centre for Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials, where you will receive structured training in a number of key characterisation techniques, as part of a cohort of students.

Closing date: 19th September 2017.

To apply for this position please click here for details of our application process – in this particular instance, please contact Professor Geoff Thornton directly, rather than the CDT. Geoff’s email address is g.thornton@ucl.ac.uk

For more information on how to apply please see our application procedure.