PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago
Lithium-ion is the technology of choice for rechargeable battery applications as the Li-ion electrode chemistries provide the highest volumetric and gravimetric energy density known. Since its first introduction on the market by Sony in 1991, it took about 20 years to triple the energy density from 200Wh/L to 600Wh/L mainly by improvements in the electrode formulations. This evolution was primarily driven by the advent of portable electronics such as the smart phone. In the last few years, we have seen a push in energy density with the introduction of new electrode materials with higher intrinsic Li-ion storage capacity. State-of-the art cells today reach nearly 700Wh/L. This second wave in Li-ion technology developments is driven by the emerging electrical vehicle market. It is expected that further improvements can bring us to 800Wh/L in the first part of the 2020’s. For the next generation batteries, targeting 1000Wh/L, it is generally agreed that Li-metal anodes in combination with all-solid-state concepts will be needed. At imec, we are developing high conductivity solid nanocomposite electrolytes for solid-state Lithium and Li-ion batteries. For the integration of the first generations, we are using similar cathode and anode materials as currently used in wet batteries. Focus lays on interface control and mechanical stability. In a next step, new cathode and anode materials will be introduced. Alloying materials such as silicon and tin have a great potential for increased capacity compared to current graphite anodes. Unfortunately, in pure form these materials are unstable and pulverize upon cycling of the battery. Nanostructuring can provide improved cycleability. In this PhD project you will investigate electrodeposition of the materials into ordered nanostructured architectures to obtain stable, high capacity and fast charging anodes.
Required background: Nanotechnology, materials science, chemistry
Type of work: experimental
Supervisor: Philippe Vereecken
Daily advisor: Maarten Debucquoy
The reference code for this position is 2021-082. Mention this reference code on your application form.