High Voltage Charge Storage Processes in Beyond Li Batteries

Li-ion batteries are likely to become the dominant technology powering our vehicles in the next 20-30 years as we move away from fossil fuels. However, this technology is costly and will put our planet under significant new resource strains. Na- and K-ion batteries could offer more sustainable alternatives to Li as they are much cheaper and use more earth-abundant minerals, but they fall short on performance, particularly energy density. One strategy to overcome this is to target materials which store charge at higher voltages.

This DPhil project will focus on exploring novel charge compensation mechanisms with the aim of raising the operating voltage of beyond Li battery cathodes. Using a range of synthetic approaches, new materials will be made which exploit unusual modes of anion and transition metal redox. These redox processes will be investigated with advanced spectroscopic tools including XANES, EXAFS and RIXS to understand the changes in electronic structure of the cathode during operation. X-ray and neutron diffraction along with other materials characterisation techniques will be employed to examine the structural stability of the cathode. Ultimately, this project will lead to a greater understanding of how to achieve reversible, high voltage cathodes.

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Dr Robert House (robert.house@materials.ox.ac.uk).





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