Improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions and increasing the share of renewables are among the primary targets of the EU. To achieve these goals, solid-state energy devices, including solid oxide cells (SOCs), have gathered significant attention. In recent years, advances in material design have opened up unprecedented opportunities for development. For example, compared with either single phase, heterointerfaces of transition metal oxides (TMOs) exhibit orders of magnitude faster ion exchange/diffusion kinetics in SOCs. However, there is continuous debate regarding the origin of these enhancements, mainly due to limited instrumental resolutions compared to the nanometre length scale of heterointerfaces. The underlying electrokinetic mechanisms must be understood and quantitatively determined so that we can rationally design interfaces with superior properties. This will open up new avenues in the low-temperature SOC (LT-SOC) applications. To this end, we propose an in-situ study of a range of heterointerfaces using both Low Energy Ion Scattering Spectroscopy and recently installed, one-of-a-kind and high-resolution Plasma Focused Ion Beam Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy. We will design strain-engineered vertically aligned composite nanostructures (VAN) of TMO heterostructures using Pulsed Laser Deposition. VAN design allows for strain tuning in electrodes with thicknesses reaching micrometre length scales, thus paving the way for potential commercialisation. The performance of these heterostructures will be investigated for LT-SOC applications, targeting higher outputs at lower operating temperatures (300-500°C). This project combines the candidate’s expertise in SOCs with the host institute’s unique surface characterisation capabilities. This work is expected to form a cornerstone in the researcher's academic career while significantly contributing to boosting European excellence by studying a highly topical research question.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/chemical sciences/analytical chemistry/spectroscopy
- /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/waste management/energy efficiency
Call for proposal
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