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PhD Studentship: synthesis of molecular energy materials for lithium-sulfur batteries


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Wednesday 11 September 2024
Reference:  SCI263

Supervised by Dr Graham Newton (, Dr Lee Johnson, Prof Darren Walsh

Fully-funded PhD project (UK students only)

Start date: 1 October 2024. 

About the Project: We are seeking to recruit a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD student to work on the synthesis of molecular energy materials. The candidate will work within the Nottingham Applied Materials and Interfaces Group ( in the Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry at the University of Nottingham alongside our ‘next-generation’ batteries research team. We want to understand the chemistry that underpins advanced energy systems and use this knowledge can be used to unlock new energy storage technologies for electrification of the automotive sector. The target is to enable alternative, sustainable technologies that can supersede the lithium-ion battery and the group maintains active research programmes in lithium-ion batteries, magnesium batteries, lithium-air batteries and lithium-sulfur batteries. Our approach to address these challenges spans synthetic chemistry, electrochemistry and device development and is delivered in collaboration with leading stakeholders in the energy storage sector. 

Background: The lithium-sulfur battery is one of the most promising ‘next-generation’ battery technologies, offering twice the gravimetric energy density of the lithium-ion battery and potentially offering a route to the electrification of commercial flight. The technology is, however, hindered by chemical challenges related to the multi-step redox chemistry of sulfur, the high solubility of reaction intermediate polysulfides, and the reactivity of the lithium metal anode. 

Project Aims: Here, we will develop new metal chalcogenide nanoclusters with tuneable redox properties that will catalyse sulfur reduction and sulfide reoxidation, thus minimising loss of active material and degradation of lithium.

The role will be supervised by Dr Graham Newton and combine inorganic synthesis, organic synthesis, electrochemistry and in situ analysis of the chemical reactions that occur within these emerging battery technologies. The applicant will gain an expertise in a range of synthetic methodologies, electrochemistry, and battery device fabrication and testing, all of which are vital for many of the UKs emerging industries. 

Entry Requirements:

Applicants should have, or be expected to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours Masters degree, or BSc with substantial research experience, (or equivalent if from other countries) in Chemistry or a related subject (such as Natural Science, Materials Science, Physics, Engineering). 

If English is not the candidate’s first language, they must provide evidence before the beginning of the studentship that they meet the University minimum English Language requirements (IELTS 6.0 with at least 5.5 in each element).

To apply, please email Dr Graham Newton ( Applications are reviewed on a weekly basis

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