PhD Photosupercapacitor electrodes and systems

The Cluster of Excellence livMatS develops completely novel, life-like materials systems that adapt autonomously to various environments and harvest clean energy from their surroundings. The intention of these purely technical – yet in a behavioral sense quasi-living – materials systems is to meet the demands of humans with regard to pioneering environmental and energy technologies. The societal relevance of autonomous systems and their sustainability will thus play an important role in their development. The research program of livMatS is characterized by highly interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from a broad range of fields including engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, psychology, the humanities, and sustainability sciences.

The livMats Cluster of Excellence is offering a PhD research position for the following project:

Development of high energy and power density photosupercapacitor electrodes and systems

Envisaged starting date: as soon as possible

Project description
We aim at developing integrated solar-charging energy storage devices with large energy and power density as self-sufficient energy and power sources enabling energy autonomy in materials systems. Up to date, we successfully developed several types of photosupercapacitors via monolithic integration of carbon based electrochemical double layer supercapacitors (EDLC) with different types of solar cells (perovskite solar cells, silicon solar cells, organic solar cells).1–3 Despite the high conversion efficiencies of these devices, operation voltages were restricted to the operation voltage output of the respective solar cells (< 1V) and to the electrochemical stability window of the supercapacitive system (1.23 V water splitting), thereby limiting storage capacitance and hence energy and power densities.
To tackle this, photosupercapacitors shall be developed via integration of high voltage solar cells (developed by cooperation partners) with pseudocapacitors and/or hybrid supercapacitors with large energy density, that combine capacitive and faradaic charge storage, while satisfying the voltage requirement of the solar cell. The developed device should feature large energy density without compromising power density but also high-rate capability even at high current densities. To achieve this, 3D structuring of the electroactive electrodes by a.o. 3D-printing shall be applied. Work on integration processes of corresponding pseudo- or/and hybrid supercapacitors with solar cells will also be a part of the project. Extensive characterization of the devices to better understand their working principles and to identify limiting factors are an integral part of the project.

Candidate profile:
• holds a master degree in chemistry, material science or related subject;
• has a good knowledge in inorganic chemistry, material chemistry and electrochemistry;
• has experience in wet chemical synthesis, processing and in material characterization;
• has experience in 3D-priting and supercapacitors design (not mandatory but advantageous);
• is strongly motivated to execute experimental work;
• has a problem solving mindset;
• can assist student project work, exercise and lab sessions for chemical lab courses;
• is capable of independent and critical thinking, independent working, smoothly integrating into an international research group;
• has excellent presentation and writing skills;
• has very good written and spoken English (German language is not mandatory, but advantageous)

Please hand in:
• Letter of intent detailing why you are interested in this specific project and how your previous research qualifies you for the project (up to 1,500 words)
• Curriculum Vitae with list of publications (if applicable)
• Certified copies of your university degree(s) with grades (BA and MA certificate / Diploma certificate and transcript)
• Short summary of your master’s thesis (up to 1,000 words)
• Work sample (chapter from recent thesis or journal article, up to 5,000 words)
• Suggestion of two references with contact details

Your documents will not be returned after the application process. For this reason, please submit copies only. This position is limited to 36 months. The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13. We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00002532, Application deadline is 16 October 2022. Application is to be emailed as ONE SINGLE PDF FILE to positions@livmats.uni-freiburg.de.

Direct all scientific questions about the project to Prof. Anna Fischer