The overall goal of this PhD project is to perform an in-depth experimental and computational study of the reliability of solid-state lithium batteries with an integrated solid-composite electrolyte.
The gradual move beyond conventional lithium-ion batteries seems inevitable on account of their limited energy content. Solid-state electrolytes can significantly boost the energy density as it allows for more densified cell architectures. The introduction of a solid phase to replace the conventional liquid-phase electrolytes is, however, a rather disruptive step and many material integration issues still need to be resolved. The operation of a battery relies on proper electronic and/or ionic contact between the different components. At imec/EnergyVille, an approach was developed where the solid electrolyte component is formed in-situ inside the porous electrodes thus providing good contact between the active electrode powder and the electrolyte ( ). However, the rigid nature of the solid-solid interfaces still poses serious concerns about mechanical-induced degradation. Indeed, significant change of volume and insertion-induced stresses can impede decent and stable performance of a solid-state battery. Through a combination of experimental understanding and modeling, the ultimate goal of the project is to provide a tool to prediction of the electrolyte composition and the composite electrode architecture for optimal reliability and performance of the solid-state lithium batteries.
This 4-year PhD project centers on the following main targets
- Design & fabrication of a novel in-situ ‘breathing’ electrochemical cell with which the displacement of the electrode/electrolyte can be tracked during cycling.
- Characterization of the transport phenomena in solid-composite electrolytes.
- Development of a coupled electro-chemo-mechanical model for the solid-composite electrolytes.
- You hold a Master in Engineering, applied Physics, or Physical Chemistry.
- You have a strong background/experience in the following disciplines: Design and development of electromechanical devices, charge/mass transport phenomena, finite-difference and finite-element methods, and good coding and programming skills.
- You have a general background of batteries and electrochemical systems.
- You are able to present scientific results, and have excellent reporting skills. A first scientific publication is an asset.
- You have a problem-solving attitude and a strong desire to stay up-to-date with recent developments.
- You are able to work independently and are eager to take initiative and responsibility.
- You have the necessary qualities to function within an international team. Very good verbal and written communication skills in English are required, and international experience (Erasmus, internship abroad) is an asset.
Type of work: 50% modeling, 50% experimental
Required background: Master in Chemical Engineering, applied Physics, or Physical Chemistry
Supervisors: Momo Safari and Philippe Vereecken
Daily advisor: Momo Safari
The reference code for this position is 1812-89. Mention this reference code on your application form.