This is a doctoral cotutelle project between Deakin University (Australia) and Université de Bordeaux (France) under the AUFRANDE Program.
The successful candidate will sign a 36-month employment contract with French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) - Institute of Condensed Matter Chemistry in Bordeaux (ICMCB - UMR5026) and be enrolled as a PhD candidate at both Université de Bordeaux (France) and Deakin University (Australia).
Twelve months of the total period of the program will be spent at Deakin University, with the remainder of the program based at Université de Bordeaux (France).
International mobility is a core feature of the program. The Australia-France Network of Doctoral Excellence (AUFRANDE) is a unique PhD training program co-funded by the European Union and bringing together 37 research centres in France and Australia. Besides a residential year in Australia, the successful candidate will be part of a cohort of 64 PhD fellows and will participate in regular events where they will share common experiences and build a sustainable community, laying a strong foundation for long-term impact on future collaborations and careers.
Increasing energy demands throughout society, e.g. for transport, renewable energy storage etc., requires a continued improvement in the energy density of lithium ion batteries. Improving the safety of these devices is also critical, particularly for electric vehicle (EV) applications. In the drive to develop stable, high energy density lithium ion batteries it is essential to explore both new electrode materials, such as lithium metal anodes and high voltage cathodes, combined with new electrolytes, and to overcome the current challenges associated with control of the interfaces between these different components.
This project will use spinel type manganese-rich compounds, bare or modified at their surface, as the positive electrode to allow realization of high voltages. These will be combined with new solid-state electrolytes because solid electrolytes are highly advantageous for safety and stability. The new electrolyte materials, based on organic ionic plastic crystals (OIPCs), are composed entirely of ions and thus have the advantage of being inflammable and having negligible vapor pressure. The chemical, physical and electrochemical properties of the OIPCs can be modified by changing the nature of the cation and anion and thus there is significant scope for optimizing the materials and the device performance.
In order to utilize the combinations of novel cathode and electrolyte materials, this project will address the challenges of maintaining both conduction and mechanical properties over long range cell cycling. This will be achieved by studying the interfacial reactions occurring at the electrode/electrolyte interface, how this evolves with cycling, and how it changes depending on the nature of the electrode and electrolyte materials. This strategy will allow us to optimize both the electrode material and the electrolyte for improved battery performance and extended life.
The project will be performed in close collaboration between IFM at Deakin University (Australia) and Tecnalia (France), both experts in the development of electrolytes, and ICMCB at Bordeaux University (France) expert in the development of electrode materials for batteries.
The overarching aim of this project is the:
- investigation of the thermal and transport properties of new plastic crystal electrolytes and their combination with metal ion salts.
- investigation of the compatibility of the plastic crystal-based electrolytes with different high voltage cathode materials: electrochemical studies including coin cell investigation, post-mortem investigations using various spectroscopic and diffraction methods.
Applications close 9:59am, Thursday 24 January 2024 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEDT)
Please note: AUFRANDE Program details specify applications close 24 January 2024 at 11:59 PM Central European Time (CET)
This scholarship is co-funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), Horizon Europe, European Union; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS); and Deakin University.
CNRS offers a 36-months full-time work contract (with the option to extend up to a maximum of 42 months). The benefits include:
- Gross annual salary €27,000
- A Tuition Fee Waiver at both PhD awarding institutions
- Yearly travel allowance to cover flights and accommodation for participating in AUFRANDE events
- €10,000 allowance to cover flights and living expenses for up to 12 months in Australia
- 45 days paid holiday leave
- French Social security coverage
- Sick leave and parental leave
To be eligible you must meet all the minimum eligibility criteria by the application closing date:
- must have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible to apply.
- have not resided or carried out your main activity (e.g. work or studies) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the application closing date. Time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention (1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol), compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
- have not be already permanently employed by the chosen Research Host at the time of the application closing date.
- must meet the academic criteria for admission to the doctoral programs at both the French and the Australian enrolling universities.
- must be able to C1 level of English (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in both speaking and in writing).
- be able to physically locate to both Université de Bordeaux (France) and Deakin University (Australia)
More information on the Université de Bordeaux’ requirements:
For more information, please view: Le doctorat à l'université de Bordeaux. (u-bordeaux.fr)
More information on Deakin University’s requirements:
Applicants must have completed a research project in a related area including a thesis which is equivalent to at least 25% of a year’s full-time study with achievement of a grade for the project equivalent to a Deakin grade of 80% or equivalent. For more information, please view: Research applications | Deakin
How to apply
Applicants should only apply via the Australia-France Network of Doctoral Excellence (AUFRANDE) website
Applicants may wish to first contact contact Prof. Jenny Pringle to discuss the project.