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PhD position - Electrolytic soft matter

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UMR5819-MANMAR-001
Workplace : GRENOBLE
Date of publication : Monday, June 29, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Manuel Maréchal
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Through enabling the hierarchical self-assembly of ionic liquid crystals up to the meso/micro-scopic scale though ac-electric field-directed long-range organisation, the cutting-edge proposed project aims to go beyond the state-of-the-art level of ionic transport performances through a better understanding of the multiscale structure/transport interplay, notably by directing the self-assembly of long-range ordered nanoscale ionic pathways. The innovative strategy of defect management in functional materials, which plays crucial roles in many areas (e.g. doping in nanoelectronics) of nano-science/technology, is applied here in to directional confined ionic transport (nanoionics) to fulfil the pressing scientific challenge of lab-to-fab technology transfer towards electrolytes 2.0 for next generation electrochemical energy generation (e.g. DSSC) & storage (e.g. battery) solutions.

This research project aims at generating and studying libraries of single-cation (e.g. Li+, Na+, etc.) conducting polymerized thin films. Thermotropic ionic liquid crystals (TILCs) featuring photo-crosslinkable end-moieties will be photo-crosslinked in situ for their use at the heart of next generation solid-state batteries. Beyond synthetic aspects, interplay between structure & transport properties will be studied to reveal directed 1D vs. 2D vs. 3D. ionic transport features within solid-state electrolytes encoding precise morphologies.

Work Context

The SyMMES lab has an extensive and broad scope internationally recognized expertise in the design, synthesis, and physicochemical characterizations of molecular and macromolecular-based organic electronic and ionic conductors for organic optoelectronics (FETs) and energy generation (organic photovoltaics) and storage (fuel cell, battery, capacitor). Multi-scale electronic/ionic/protonic) transport properties vs. structural organization vs. chemical structure correlations are specific skills developed along the years and facilitated through access to SoA characterization platforms of the IRIG and to next door's X-ray and neutron large scale facilities (ESRF & ILL).

Additional Information

Eligibility criteria:
We are looking for a talented and motivated PhD student willing to contribute to a project focused on the relationship between multiscale structure and ionic transport in electrolytic soft matter.
The PhD candidate is required to hold a Master degree in (Electro-)Chemistry, Materials Science or another relevant discipline dealing with functional soft matter. A previous experience in the synthesis and/or multiscale structure (SAXS/WAXD)/property (ionic or electronic conductivity) correlations of functional (i.e. electronically/ionically conducting) materials being especially appreciated.
A demonstrated ability to perform independent work, to work across borders of chemistry and physics of functional soft maters, and excellent communication and writing (English) skills are equally important criteria with respect to academic qualifications and scientific merit for the selection of the PhD candidate. The successful candidate is truly interested in hard laboratory work, is not afraid to face new challenges, is personally mature, and is strongly motivated and self-driven. The friendly environment of SyMMES provides a number of different theoretical skills and experimental expertise as well as it gathers many young and engaged research leaders.

Major responsibilities
The PhD is expected to actively drive forward a project focused on the transport mechanism in ionic liquid crystals. This project is mainly experimental and based on the use of diverse techniques such as impedance spectroscopy, home-made SAXS/WAXS, POM, NMR spectroscopy, diffusion NMR and thermal analysis, but through external collaborations the use of computational methods and large-scale facilities will also be explored. The student must therefore be able to tackle a diversity of methods and approaches. Along with performing experiments and analysing data, the candidate will also be responsible for communicating clearly and regularly the progress of the work, contributing to relevant national and international conferences, and writing high-quality scientific papers. The student will also have to follow courses as part of the education .It is important to recognize that this position gives merits for future research activities within the academia or in the industrial/public sector.

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