PhD Studentship: Shining Light on Electrochemical Reactions

University of Liverpool - Department of Chemistry

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Supervisor: Prof Laurence Hardwick

Funding availability: UK/EU (funded) 

Project description: 

Understanding the properties and mechanistic detail of electrochemical or catalytic reactions at the interface at molecular level is critical for developing energy systems e.g. batteries; supercapacitors; fuel cells, water splitting catalysts. Shell-Isolated Nanoparticles for Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SHINERS) is a powerful technique for surface analysis. In principle, any type of electrode substrate can be used since the amplification of the Raman signal comes from the gold core embedded within an ultrathin (ca. 2 nm) silica shell. This allows the detection of intermediates and products on any electrode surface during an electrochemical reaction and highlights a very powerful method at accessing reaction pathways and relating them directly to surface structure.

The PhD project would focus on using SHINERS on electrode substrates to investigate important fundamental reactions such as water splitting, carbon dioxide reaction, and electrochemical reactions involving oxygen.

For recent examples and background see:

Shell Isolated Nanoparticles for Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Studies in Lithium-Oxygen Cells, Faraday Discuss., 205 (2017) 469


Utilizing In Situ Electrochemical SHINERS for Oxygen Reduction Reaction Studies in Aprotic Electrolytes , J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 7 (2016) 2119

Applications are encouraged from highly motivated candidates who have, or expect to have, at least a 2:1 degree or equivalent in Chemistry. The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years (currently £14,553 p.a.) and it is anticipated that the successful candidate will start in September 2018.

Applications from candidates from UK/EU countries, as well as candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome - please refer to the EPSRC website.

Applications should be made as soon as possible but no later than 16th June 2018. Informal enquiries are also encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Hardwick at

How to apply:

Details on the formal application procedure can be found at:

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