Rational design of electrodes and electrolyte for energy storage and in-situ electrochemical probing 2019

Developing high performance energy storage devices such as batteries or supercapacitors are important for portable electronics, vehicle electrification and smart grids, while developing techniques for electrochemical monitoring that offer higher spatial and temporal resolution would open up new ways to study electrochemical interfaces and reaction kinetics for further developing novel energy storage devices.

Start date
1 October 2019
3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
The University of Surrey
Funding information

The studentship covers the full costs of UK/EU tuition fee, plus a stipend of approximately £ 14,777 per annum, in line with standard RCUK stipend levels.


This project aims to develop the novel electrode materials with enlarged and stabilised ion diffusion channel for large alkali metal ion (Na+) and multivalent ion (Zn2+/Mg2+/Al3+) batteries as well as the corresponding pseudocapacitor.

Based on the versatile material-electrochemical in-situ characterisation platform, optimised electrode and different electrolyte will be tested simultaneously to understand and further optimise the electron/ion transport at the interface between electrode material and electrolyte.


The project will be performed within a vibrant and dynamic environment at Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) under the supervision of Dr. Yunlong Zhao and Prof. Ravi Silva. The successful candidate will develop multidisciplinary skills in advanced materials synthesis, energy storage and in-situ electrochemical probing.

The ATI is one of University of Surrey's world-leading research centres. It brings together researchers with an international outlook in Quantum Information, Nanotechnology, Energy and Advanced Materials, and has a wide range of facilities for material synthesis, device fabrication, measurement and characterisation. The successful candidate will also get opportunity to work at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), which is one of a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate standards, science and technology available.

Dr. Yunlong Zhao is Lecturer in Energy Storage within ATI (joint appointment with NPL). He has deep interest in understanding and further optimising electron/ion transport at the interface between electrode material and energy storage systems via engineering micro-/nanoscale materials to enable novel energy storage devices, electrochemical sensor, and their 3D integration in flexible frameworks. His works have led to over 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Nature Communications, PNAS and Nano Letters with citation for over 3900 times, and Google H-index of 27.

Prof. Ravi Silva is the director of ATI and Head of NanoElectronics Centre. His research has resulted in over 600 presentations at international conferences, and over 550 journal papers, over 17,000 citations (Google Scholar). His research interest encompasses a wide range of activities with a focus in nanotechnology and renewable energy.

Eligibility criteria

This studentship is available to UK or EU applicants who hold a First or 2:1 UK honours degree in a relevant subject area, or a 2:2 alongside a good masters degree (a distinction is usually required).

If English is not your first language, you will be required to have an IELTS Academic of 6.5 or above (or equivalent), with no sub-test score below 6.

Applicants with a background in energy storage materials and devices, electrochemistry and nanofabrication are welcomed.

How to apply

You can apply for this studentship via the Advanced Technology Institute PhD course page, and mentioning this studentship in your application. 

Advanced Technology Institute PhD

Application deadline

Contact details

Yunlong Zhao
22 ATI 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 689862
E-mail: yunlong.zhao@surrey.ac.uk

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