PhD Studentship: Understanding Potassium in Ion-Batteries and Heterogenous Catalysis using Advanced X-ray Characterisation

Loughborough University

Start date of studentship: 1st October 2018

Closing date for applications: 16th February 2018


Primary supervisor: Simon Kondrat

Secondary supervisor: Upul Wijayantha

Diamond Supervisor: Giannantonio Cibin

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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The project is co-coordinated with Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron, one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the world. You will have a unique opportunity to work at this impressive institution, building your research skills and the opportunity to form professional connections with some of the 7000 world leading researchers using the facility.   

Full Project Detail:

This unique project will investigate the nature of potassium in materials associated with ion battery technology. Lithium currently dominates battery technology, but is unsustainable due to its rarity; potassium batteries represent a sustainable alternative, with great scope for the development of new cathode materials. These inorganic metal compounds will also have application in catalysis for highly important industrial reactions, such as ammonia synthesis and green fuel production.

In collaboration with Diamond, the successful candidate will study the local structure of potassium in these materials as they operate, using advanced X-ray characterisation techniques. Such pioneering science into the nature of potassium as it performs its role will require the design of bespoke reactors and to work alongside colleagues in developing new characterisation modelling methods. We will use this knowledge to develop new battery technology and catalyst formulations that will have real impact in creating greener and more sustainable energy storage and processing.

Applicants must be highly motivated and willing to spend up to 50% of their time at Diamond Light Source. The project involves significant beamtime and requires strong interpersonal and communication skills. There will also be opportunities to interact with the UK Catalysis Hub, situated with Diamond, on the Harwell campus.

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Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in chemistry or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, heterogenous catalysis, battery technology.

Funding information:

This studentship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or any of the advertised projects prioritised for funding by the School of Science.

The 3-year studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £14,553 (2017 rate) per annum (in line with the standard research council rates) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance

The studentship is half-funded by Diamond Light Source.

Contact details:

Name: Dr Simon Kondrat


Tel: 01509223388

How to apply:

Applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Chemistry.

Please quote reference: CM/SK-1/2018

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