Empa - the place where innovation starts
Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society.
Empa’s Laboratory Materials for Energy Conversion focuses on materials and device innovation for sustainable energy conversion and storage technologies. We are offering a
PhD student position on redox flow batteries
The research project focuses on the development of electrolytes and electrode materials for next-generation flow batteries. The energy density of such batteries is typically quite low and directly linked to active material solubility. Concentrated electrolytes, however, invoke various challenges that prevent practical implementation. In this project we will explore mediated redox reactions, or redox targeting, to decouple energy density from solubility. Your task is to identify redox mediators that will be dissolved in the electrolyte, and solid electrode materials that will be deposited in the electrolyte storage tanks. You will develop methods to improve the electrode-electrolyte compatibility via solvent effects and coatings, developing a firm understanding of mediated redox reactions and how experimental parameters and material formulations affect charge transfer at the liquid-solid interface. Compositions and morphologies of electrode pellets will be explored to optimize mass transport, ensuring that all the electrode material is efficiently charged and discharged during battery operation. Promising material combinations will be studied in lab-scale flow batteries, benefitting from the extensive characterization capabilities available at Empa.
Our labs are fully equipped for battery fabrication and characterization. State-of-the-art facilities include synthesis labs with fume hoods, gloveboxes, various synthesis reactors and furnaces, sputtering and evaporation facilities, X-ray diffractometers, UV-Vis, Raman and FTIR spectrometers, surface area and particle size analyzer, electrochemical characterization including impedance spectroscopy, mass spectrometers, gas and liquid chromatographers, thermogravimetric analyzer, various equipment for the physicochemical characterization of electrolytes, etc. Access to advanced electron microscopy and X-ray facilities is also available.
We are looking for a highly self-motivated team player ready to work independently in Empa’s vibrant international research environment. The ideal candidate possesses a master’s degree in materials science, chemistry, or related fields. Prior experience in electrochemistry and battery research is an advantage. Appointments start preferably in August 2023. All applications received before Mai 15 will receive full attention.