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Advertising division: IEK-9 - Fundamental Electrochemistry
Reference number: 2019M-112, Chemistry, Materials Science

Master Thesis: Characterisation of fibre-based transition metal-enhanced air electrodes for iron-air batteries

The Institute of Fundamental Electrochemistry (IEK-9) is offering a thesis position for a master student (m/f/d) (CHEMISTRY (Materials or Catalysis) or related) as soon as possible.

Iron-air batteries are a promising battery system due to its high theoretical energy density. It is investigated as a possible replacement for Li-ion batteries in certain areas of application. In addition to the high theoretical energy density, advantages include eco-friendliness, safety, and high resource abundance. Our institute has developed high performing iron anodes, leaving the air cathode as a bottle neck. Therefore, it is now our aim to improve the cathode performance to harness the full system potential. Approaches using carbon fibre mats from electrospun poly acrylonitrile fibres have shown promising properties and are now to be further improved.

As part of the thesis work, non-precious metal particle decorated fibre mats are to be prepared using the electrospinning technique and subsequently characterised. The thesis has two main aims. The influence of the synthesis parameters on the morphology are to be determined comparing the different metals applied. Additionally, the electrochemical activity in a half and full cell setting should be determined for a selected system. This thesis will add to the understanding of the carbonisation process of poly acrylonitrile in presence of metals and is a first step towards a competitive full battery system.
The following characterisation techniques will most likely be applied: SEM, XRD, Raman spectroscopy, XPS, ICP-OES, gas adsorption and multiple electrochemical measurement procedures.

Your profile:
Student (m/f/d) currently enrolled in a master’s programme, who wants to write their thesis in our institute. The programme should be in the area of chemistry with a focus on materials and/or heterogeneous catalysis or a related area. A genuine interest in the topic, the ability to work independently, and extensive experience in working in a chemical laboratory are mandatory. Knowledge in the area of electrochemical catalysis and any of the methods mentioned above are advantageous but not required.

Please send your application comprising at least a conclusive CV, a motivational letter, and a copy of your recent academic performance, (via email) until 15 December 2019 to:
Markus Gehring, MSc
Institute of Energy and Climate Research
Fundamental Electrochemistry (IEK-9)
Forschungszentrum Jülich