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/Job opportunities/Researcher novel Li-anode architectures

Researcher novel Li-anode architectures

Research & development - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Participate in the development of next generation batteries

Researcher novel Li-anode architectures

What you will do

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 more than 20 years to double its energy density from 250Wh/L to 500Wh/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 Li-ion batteries. For the integration, 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, lithium metal anodes will be considered. The integration of lithium has many technological issues. The potential formation of dendrites during recharging of the battery is, for example, a serious safety concern. Also, the planar geometry of a simple lithium foil poses issues towards rate performance as the current density is much larger than for the current graphite electrodes which have a large effective surface area. The fact that several microns of lithium are plated (appear) and de-plated (disappear) at the anode side is obviously not straightforward in the case of all solid-state architectures. Therefore, alloys with lithium and surface area enlargement by, for example, patterning are considered as potential solutions.

In this job, you will investigate and optimize the lithium plating and de-plating characteristics at the current collector/lithium (alloy)/ solid electrolyte interfaces. This learning will then lead to the development of conditions for control of lithium thickness, current density, electrical contact and morphology.

What we do for you

We offer you the opportunity to join one of the world’s premier research centers in nanotechnology at its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. With your talent, passion and expertise, you’ll become part of a team that makes the impossible possible. Together, we shape the technology that will determine the society of tomorrow.
We are proud of our open, multicultural, and informal working environment with ample possibilities to take initiative and show responsibility. We commit to supporting and guiding you in this process; not only with words but also with tangible actions. Through, 'our corporate university', we actively invest in your development to further your technical and personal growth. 
We are aware that your valuable contribution makes imec a top player in its field. Your energy and commitment are therefore appreciated by means of a competitive salary with many fringe benefits.

Who you are

We are looking for candidates who have throughout experience with electrochemical deposition. Experience with lithium(-ion) cell technology is a plus. Furthermore, you are a self-motivated person, who seizes opportunities and is enthused by new challenges.
  • You have a PhD degree in electrochemistry, material chemistry, or engineering
  • You have excellent knowledge of electrochemical depositions
  • Experience in deposition and characterization of thin-films is a plus
  • You are knowledgeable on lithium(-ion) cell technology
  • You take initiative and work independently, while being part of a team.
  • You can guide and motivate team members in their work 
  • You can plan the work of a team according to deadlines and deliverables 
  • You are creative and like to think with the team to solve problems
  • You are result-driven and can meet stringent deadlines with quality output.
  • You are flexible to accept new challenges in the future, and to evolve together with the changing R&D demands of our high-tech environment 
The imec environment requires a good team player with competent communication and reporting skills. Given the international character of imec an impeccable knowledge of English is mandatory.