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PhD Studentship

The University of Manchester

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Manchester
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £15,609
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 3rd September 2021
Closes: 30th September 2021
 

The Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science is seeking a highly motivated graduate to undertake an exciting four-year EPSRC industrial CASE PhD project entitled “Operando Studies of Electrocatalysis for Hydrogen Production Using Pioneering Vibrational Spectroscopic Techniques”.

This industrial CASE project is a collaboration between the University of Manchester and BP. The PhD student will be provided with a first-rate, challenging research training experience, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and industrial partners. Industrial CASE provides outstanding students access to training, facilities and expertise not available in an academic setting alone. Students benefit from a diversity of experimental approaches with an applied / translational dimension. Students have an opportunity to develop a range of valuable skills and significantly enhance their future employability; many will become research leaders of the future.

Research Summary

The project aims to apply Raman spectroscopy for in situ monitoring of hydrogen production by electrocatalysis. One of the key issues in moving towards a hydrogen economy is the increased efficiency electrocatalytic processes involving water hydrolysis. Selection of low-cost yet highly efficient electrocatalysts is an important step as well as understanding phenomena such as catalyst degradation, electrode corrosion and fouling in order to improve the overall efficiency of the process. Understanding the electrocatalytic mechanisms and reactions by in situ characterisation is a central aspect of this and the project will develop and employ several Raman spectroscopic approaches towards in situ and in operando measurements of chemical composition. Raman microscopy will be used for in situ spatial measurements at the micron level; a novel ultraviolet Raman system will continue to be developed for fluorescence free measurements and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) will be explored for higher sensitivity measurements at sub ppm concentrations.

Industrial Involvement

The project is part of BP ICAM which is the International Centre for Advanced Materials involving the Universities of Manchester, Cambridge, Imperial and Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Low Carbon Energy Enduring Theme at ICAM encompasses research into materials science and engineering challenges for technologies directly related to the production and storage of energy from low carbon sources.

Skills required

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in chemistry, chemical engineering or related discipline

Funding

This is a 4-year studentship that covers Home tuition fees and provides a tax-free stipend in excess of the UKRI-standard rate of £15,609 for the 2021/22 academic session (stipend uplift to be confirmed).

As an equal opportunities employer, we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons.  As the School is committed to the principles of the Race Equality Charter Mark and Athena SWAN, we would particularly welcome applications from women and the black and minority ethnic (BME) community, who are both currently under-represented at this grade. All appointments will be made on merit.

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