Undergraduate Course

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

PART II RESEARCH PROJECTS FOR CHEMISTS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF MATERIALS

The Part II Coordinator is Prof. Keyna O'Reilly (keyna.oreilly@materials.ox.ac.uk, int. tel.73743)

For any general enquiries, please contact:
Philippa Moss
Deputy Administrator (Academic)
Department of Materials
Telephone: 73750
Email: philippa.moss@materials.ox.ac.uk

Part II Projects for Chemists 2020-21:

Ionic liquids for battery applications - Prof. Mauro Pasta

Project description

 

Oxygen redox chemistry in Li-ion and Na-ion battery electrode materials - Prof. Peter Bruce

Reversible reduction and oxidation of oxide ions in intercalation materials offers an interesting route to increase the energy density of next-generation Li-ion rechargeable batteries. This project will involve synthesis and characterisation of new Li-ion and Na-ion intercalation compounds. Coin cells will be assembled and the materials will be tested electrochemically to shed more light on O-redox chemistry. Understanding the structural properties of these materials is key to interpreting the electrochemistry. This project will enable you to gain knowledge and skills in areas such as synthesis, electrochemistry, diffraction and spectroscopy. 

References:
1. What Triggers Oxygen Loss in Oxygen Redox Cathode Materials? R. A. House, U. Maitra, L. Jin, J. G. Lozano, J. W. Somerville, N. H. Rees, A. J. Naylor, L. C. Duda, F. Massel, A. V. Chadwick, S. Ramos, D. M. Pickup, D. E. McNally, X. Lu, T. Schmitt, M. R. Roberts & P. G. Bruce. Chemistry of Materials, 31, 3293-3300 (2019).
2. Nature of the “Z”-phase in layered Na-ion battery cathodes. J. W. Somerville, A. Sobkowiak, N. Tapia-Ruiz, J. Billaud, J. G. Lozano, R. A. House, L. C. Gallington, T. Ericsson, L. Häggström, M. R. Roberts, U. Maitra & P. G. Bruce. Energy & Environmental Science, 12, 2223-2232 (2019).

 

Building the batteries of the future - solid-state synthesis and electrochemical testing of superionic conductors for all-solid-state battery applications - Prof. Peter Bruce

All solid state batteries use a solid electrolyte instead of the flammable liquid electrolyte found in conventional lithium ion cells. This change addresses safety concerns and allows the use of a lithium metal anode – doubling the energy density. This project will involve synthesising Li/Na ionic conductors, understanding/optimising surface chemistry and building cells for electrochemical testing. The focus will be on changing variables to improve battery cycling and prevent cell failure. This project will enable you to gain knowledge and skills in areas such as synthesis, electrochemistry, microscopy and XPS.

References:
1. Critical stripping current leads to dendrite formation on plating in lithium anode solid electrolyte cells. J. Kasemchainan, S. Zekoll, D. Spencer Jolly, Z. Ning, G. O. Hartley, J. Marrow & P. G. Bruce. Nature Materials, 18, 1105-1111 (2019).
2. Hybrid Electrolytes with 3D Bicontinuous Ordered Ceramic and Polymer Microchannels for All-Solid-State Batteries, S. Zekoll, C. Marriner-Edwards, A. K. Hekselman, J. Kasemchainan, C. Kuss, D. Armstrong, D. Cai, R. Wallace, F. H. Richter, J. Thijssen, P. G. Bruce, Energy & Environmental Science, 11, 185-201 (2018).

 

The materials chemistry and electrochemistry of the lithium-air battery - Prof. Peter Bruce

Theoretically the Li-air battery can store more energy than any other device, as such it has the potential to revolutionise energy storage. The challenge is to understand the electrochemistry and materials chemistry of the Li-air battery and by advancing the science unlock the door to a practical device. The Li-air battery consists of a lithium metal negative electrode and a porous positive electrode, separated by an organic electrolyte. During discharge oxygen is reduced, forming solid Li2O2, which is oxidised on subsequent charging. This project will involve understanding the electrochemistry in Li-air cells (e.g. redox mediators, electrolytes and electrode design). The aim is to understand the fundamental science. This project will enable you to gain knowledge and skills in areas such as electrochemistry, spectroscopy and microscopy.

References:
1. Kinetics of lithium peroxide oxidation by redox mediators and consequences for the lithium-oxygen cell, Y. Chen, X. Gao, L. R. Johnson, P. G. Bruce, Nature Communications9, 767 (2018).
2. Advances in Understanding Mechanisms Underpinning Lithium-Air Batteries, D. Aurbach, B. D. McCloskey, L. F. Nazar, P. G. Bruce, Nature Energy1, published online 8 September 2016.

 

Contact:
Prof. Peter Bruce
Email: zsofia.lazar@materials.ox.ac.uk
Tel: (6)12760
Materials, Room 271.10.09