HDR Scholarship - Functional polymer electrolytes for batteries

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Functional polymer electrolytes for batteries'.

Project Supervisor


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

Polymer electrolytes based on polymerized ionic liquids (PILs) have shown great potential in the development of future solid-state alkali metal batteries, including Lithium, sodium and potassium metals. These polymers have cationic polymer backbones and are used as solid solvents for the salts. Unconventionally, the metal ion diffusion and polymer segmental motion will increase upon adding more salt, due to a co-coordination structure mechanism between polycations, anions and metal ions [Joule, 2019, 3, 2687]. Interestingly, the formation of salt-rich domains was found in a superconcentrated PILs with very high salt concentrations, which can further improve metal ion diffusion. However, as demonstrated in our lab, such domains are usually energetically metastable and could transform into a less conductive phase in a short time or a few days. Therefore, how to stabilise the salt-rich domains in these materials can not only result in high metal ion conduction, but also increase the number of charge ion carriers, thus the electrolyte performance, which could play a key to realise their practical application in solid-state batteries.

Project aim

This project will explore different strategies to stabilise the superconcentrated PIL systems, which can include the use of new anions, mixed anions or additives. A number of alkali metal ion systems will be studied including lithium, sodium and potassium. These materials will be initially designed through molecular simulation, and the composition and structure with promising results will be investigated through experiment. This project aims to integrate the computational and experimental techniques to design future solid electrolyte materials based on polymerized ionic liquids, and to achieve the reasonable and early application.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,900 per annum tax exempt (2022 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate currently residing in Australia. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Please apply using the Find a Research Supervisor tool


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Fangfang Chen

Dr Fangfang Chen
Email Dr Fangfang Chen
+61 3 924 45114