/Development of nanostructured 3D electrodes for use in lithium-ion batteries

Development of nanostructured 3D electrodes for use in lithium-ion batteries

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

develop nanotechnology for next generation battery technologies

Lithium-ion batteries have received increasing attention over the past decades. While the ongoing electrification of the transport sector will take the lion’s share of global lithium-ion capacity in the future, this technology also allowed the emergence of smart phones. Development of these every-day items would indeed not have been possible without the availability of suitable energy storage. Today we face a similar issue on a different scale – many electronics currently encounter a bottleneck in form of batteries that are not adapted for their energy consumption and small size. Wearable and flexible electronics, as well as medical devices, such as smart pills, implanted electronics, smart contact lenses and many more, are already developed but wait for battery technology to catch up. They require flexible batteries to conform to the bendable devices, as well as batteries with small form factor and high energy density to allow day-long use without recharging in critical applications. Long lifetimes would furthermore drastically reduce the number of necessary surgeries, since many of them are done only to exchange the batteries of implantable electronics.

At imec we developed a novel type of nanostructured electrode with a unique combination of surface area, porosity, and mechanical stability. While we are already applying these electrodes for water electrolysis and CO2 reduction, developing them further and thereby enabling their application to different areas is a main challenge. For their use as current collectors and active materials in lithium-ion batteries, for example, the current process needs to be adapted and new fabrication procedures need to be developed, which will allow a drastic change in the electrode architecture. The goal is to create high-capacity anodes and cathodes for next-generation lithium-ion batteries. During your PhD, you will be working on the development of such procedures using a multitude of techniques, including PVD, electrochemical anodization, and electrodeposition of functional materials from non-aqueous electrolytes. Creating suitable porous templates and depositing the respective materials within will be your main tasks. Therefore, state-of-the-art facilities and characterization methods are at your disposal at imec and EnergyVille.

You will be working in a team together with other PhD students, researchers, and engineers, while collaborating with several different universities, research institutes, and companies. This joint effort will allow you to implement your work as the backbone of a novel battery architecture and bring this work from a concept to a full battery for applications such as wearable electronics and medical devices.

Required background: Chemistry, Materials Science, Nanotechnology

Type of work: experimental

Supervisor: Philippe Vereecken

Daily advisor: Rico Rupp

The reference code for this position is 2022-068. Mention this reference code on your application form.