PhD Studentship: X-ray Spectroscopy of Electrode-electrolyte Interfaces in Rechargeable Batteries

The University of Manchester - School of Chemistry

Supervisors: Principal Supervisor: Robert S. Weatherup

Anticipated start date for project: September 2018

Closing date for applications: 28th March 2018

Summary of Project

A fully funded PhD position is available in the research group of Dr. Robert S. Weatherup, at the University of Manchester at Harwell, close to Diamond Light Source on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire.

The PhD project will develop x-ray spectroscopy techniques to study electrode-electrolyte interfaces in lithium-ion batteries during charging and discharging. The candidate will receive hands-on training in a range of experimental techniques, including X-ray photoelectron and absorption spectroscopies (XPS/XAS), electrochemistry, and associated analysis methods. This will make use of facilities including the recently commissioned and state of the art near-ambient pressure XPS beamline (B07) at Diamond Light Source, as well as a lab-based near-ambient pressure XPS system recently installed in Manchester. A range of specially developed reaction environments will be used that incorporate x-ray and electron transparent windows to allow electrodes to be probed under realistic operating conditions. You will also gain experience in preparing model electrode materials using thin-film deposition techniques, and in manipulating two-dimensional materials such as graphene. These exciting experiments will provide a deep understanding of the interfacial reactions occurring at battery electrodes during charging and discharging, including how parasitic reactions contribute to deterioration in battery performance over time.

The position is aligned with a multidisciplinary project on battery degradation that is funded by the Faraday Institution (see ), a major, new £65m national institution set up to drive and accelerate fundamental research in developing battery technologies and their real-world applications. This involves partners from Cambridge, Glasgow, Imperial, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Strathclyde, Southampton, UCL, and Warwick, providing an extended academic network that will be valuable both during the project and when making plans for after your PhD.

The University of Manchester at Harwell is located within the UK’s leading science innovation and technology campus situated 20 minutes from Oxford and one hour from London. The campus combines the UK’s premier research facilities including the Central Laser Facility, ISIS Pulsed Neutron and Muon Source, STFC Scientific Computing Department, and Diamond Light Source amongst others. (See Although affiliated with the School of Chemistry at the University of Manchester, the PhD student is expected to spend the majority of their time at Harwell.


Applicants should have or expect at least a good II(i) honours degree (or an equivalent degree) in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science or a related discipline. Prior experience in X-ray spectroscopy is not essential.

Eligibility: Due to funding restrictions the studentship is open to UK and EU nationals with 3 years residency in the UK.


Funded by an EPSRC DTG and awarded by the School of Chemistry. The funding covers tuition fees and a stipend for 3.5 years (£14,777p.a. in 2018/19).

Contact for further Information

Informal inquiries may be made to Dr. Robert S. Weatherup: 

Link for how to apply:

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