Direct Real-Time Imaging of the Dynamic Structural Changes of Li- and Na-ion Electrode Materials

The lithium-ion battery is the indispensable technology behind the portable electronics boom, and will once again be pivotal for the upcoming revolutions in electric vehicles and renewable-friendly ‘smart grids’.  Sustained advances in capacity and reliability mandate the continued development of new electrode materials.  The informed design of these materials requires rigorous characterisation across a range of techniques in order to illuminate the limitations and mechanisms that inhibit their performance; however, application-relevant characterisation of the dynamic degradation processes as they occur is a significant technical challenge. 

This project will develop new micro-fabrication techniques for the integration of desired electrode materials into a ‘micro-battery’ that can operate within the vacuum of a transmission electron microscope (TEM), allowing for the simultaneous imaging of the structural changes of the electrodes as they undergo charging and discharging. By complementing these TEM investigations with a range of other techniques available at Oxford, the project will yield fundamental insights into the materials degradation dynamics that limit these electrode materials.

This EPSRC-funded 3.5 year DPhil in Materials DTP studentship will provide full fees and maintenance for a student with home/Republic of Ireland or Islands fee status.  The stipend will be at least £16,285 per year.  Information on fee status can be found at

Candidates will be considered in the November 2020 admissions field which has an application deadline of 13 November 2020 and, if the studentship is unfilled, in the January 2021 admissions field which has an application deadline of 22 January 2021.  

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Dr Alex Robertson (  General enquiries on how to apply can be made by e mail to  You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies.  Further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found at

TEM holder for imaging MEMS chip operating in electrolyte

Design of TEM holder for imaging MEMS chip operating in liquid electrolyte


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