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Advanced Synchrotron Characterization of Interfaces in Lithium-ion Batteries - PhD Position (H/F)

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

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General information

Reference : UMR8234-JONSOT-001
Workplace : PARIS 05
Date of publication : Thursday, June 25, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Alexis Grimaud
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

The PhD position develops within the Battery 2030+ large-scale European initiative ( which gathers several academic and industrial partners, aiming at developing artificial intelligence for the design of battery interfaces. The applicant will be part of a task force (TF) on the characterization of battery materials and interfaces during the charging and discharging processes. The TF aims at developing novel analytical tools making use of advanced techniques at European large scale facilities, such as ESRF, ILL and SOLEIL. The PhD will be part of a collaborative multidisciplinary team composed of chemists/electrochemists, materials scientists, physicists and beam-line scientists.

The PhD position is dedicated to the development of electrochemical cells and set-ups for synchrotron in situ/operando experiments, in particular using spectroscopic techniques such as X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). The systems to be investigated are Li-ion batteries (LIBs), with a special focus on the phenomena taking place at the liquid/solid interfaces between the electrolyte and the electrodes during charge and discharge of the battery (e.g. formation of a Solid Electrolyte Interphase). Mastering these phenomena by electrolyte formulation is a key hurdle for further improvements of current LIB technology.

Work Context

The PhD candidate will be hosted at SOLEIL synchrotron (Paris-Saclay Campus, Gif-sur-Yvette, and interact strongly with researchers at PHENIX laboratory at Sorbonne University (Paris, and CSE laboratory at Collège de France (Paris, The travelling time between SOLEIL and the laboratories in Paris is about 1h20min by public transportation. The applicant will further interact with other Battery 2030+ partners, in particular CEA, ESRF and ILL which are located in Grenoble and other members of the RS2E (

The PhD Research Fellow will be supervised by Dr. Jonas Sottmann (PHENIX/RS2E/CNRS and associate researcher at SOLEIL) and Dr. Alexis Grimaud (CSE/RS2E/CNRS).

Constraints and risks

The successful candidate will be enrolled in a PhD program at the Materials Science doctoral school at Sorbonne University (ED 397, The PhD candidate is expected to spend approximately one day per week in one of the laboratories in Paris. Synchrotron experiments will take place during allocated beam time which may happen about twice a year up to seven days. During that period the PhD student is expected to stay on site with the team of researchers and may have to work during night. The candidate will have the opportunity to participate in schools and present research results in conferences. National and international travels should thus be expected.

Additional Information

The PhD research fellow will be in charge of designing/commissioning the electrochemical cells for synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy (in particular XPS), planning/realizing experiments and analyzing generated datasets. Therefore, we are looking for a materials scientist and/or (electro-)chemist who is highly motivated by advanced characterization techniques at large scale facilities. Previous working experience in electrochemical energy storage research, instrumental development, surface science and/or spectroscopic measurements would be a strong asset. A solid background in organic and inorganic chemistry will be beneficial. A good command - written and oral - of English is required. The knowledge of the French language is an advantage.

We are seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic and hard-working candidate with the ambition to gain new insights and to present the results in leading, international journals. The applicant must show good interpersonal skills and be willing to work in close collaboration with the hosting team and other partners, as well as have the ability to work independently.

Please include the following documents in your application:

- Cover letter including a description of scientific interests and the motivation for applying for the position (max. 2 pages)
- CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work - scientific publications)
- Copies of the original Master's degree diploma in physics, chemistry or materials science, transcripts of records and letters of recommendation
- Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)

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