Due to the ongoing uncertainty with regards to Covid-19 we are following Swansea University policy and the M2A team are currently working from home. The M2A remains open and can be contacted via the usual phone number, email and social media channels. If you have applied for one of our projects the interview schedule may be affected. We will contact applicants in due course with further information.

Battery and Ultracapacitor electrodes mapping by In Situ Spectroscopy

Key Information

Supervisors: Dr I Aldous, Prof S Margadonna and Dr A Adomkevicius

The project will enhance the efficiency of carbon and MnO2 based printed ultracapacitor electrode by mapping the electroactive sites using in situ Raman spectroscopy. The chemical and morphological properties of the printed electrodes play an important role to ensure efficient charge transfer during operation. The role of electrode and electrolyte materials, dimensions and geometries and 3D architectures via mapping of the edge and planar sites will ascertain the electrochemical activity of electrodes. Mapping of the ion distribution throughout the electrode will provide a better mechanistic understanding and optimized geometry (3D printed fractural and planar electrodes) that will increase the number of active sites within the electrode materials. The project will also benefit from ongoing research on Hilbert Fractal and Planar electrode led by Prof. Davide Deganello.

In parallel, we will adopt the same experimental approach to map the Na and Li ion distribution throughout a metal sulphur battery positive electrode by in situ Raman spectroscopy. It will allow us to better understand the mechanism of polysulfide shuttle phenomena in relationship of geometry and electrode 3D architecture and investigate the electrode/electrolyte interface.

Raman spectroscopy is a non-invasive and non-destructive spectroscopic tool that is powerful when combined with electrochemical techniques to understand interfacial phenomena. The interfaces between materials govern many of the properties of energy storage devices. Unravelling mechanistic details using in situ Raman spectroscopy has been adapted as a common tool to accelerate the development of stable electrode/electrolyte interface by developing design rules for materials development. Within this project we are looking at analysing the interfaces of “3D printed fractural and planar electrodes” via mapping of the edge and planar sites to ascertain the electrochemical activity and look to increase the amount of active sites within the materials design to enhance the efficiency of the electrode. By using line scanning Raman mapping can be developed as an efficient tool to map larger areas at once for cross comparison. The detected signals can then be overlaid onto optical surface images to give a visual aid of where the active and non-active sites occur. Although Ramanspectroscopy is an inherently weak signalled technique it is particularly useful in the analysis of Sulphur, Carbon and metal oxides without further enhancement. However, if necessary, techniques such as shell isolated nanoparticles for enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SHINERS), which a coated gold nanoparticle, dropcast onto the surface in a localised environment will provide any enhancement of the materials if necessary.

Building on the knowledge developed during this project,  the comprehensive assessment of optimised geometries and 3D printed fractural and planar electrodes for ultracapacitors, Li-S and Na-ion electrodes will be tested with the aims at initiating the design of “handbook” of electrochemical performance of improved 3D printed fractural and planar electrodes.

This project aim is to investigate printed electrode electroactive sites to optimise electrode geometries and architecture by mapping electrochemically inactive/active electrode areas in order to optimise printing processes to improve mass loading of electroactive materials consequently leading to an increase of specific energy density and reduce excesses electroactive materials. This project aim is to design a new electrode 3D architecture and identify suitable geometries for Ultracapacitor, Sodium ion and Lithium-Sulphur electrodes.

  • Raman mapping of active sites of Ultracapacitor, Sodium ion and Lithium-Sulphur fractal and planar printed electrodes
  • Development of In Situ Raman methodology within SU laboratory
  • Identification of electrochemically Active and non-active areas of fractal and planar printed electrodes
  • Reduction of material mass by increasing the amount of electrochemically active sites on the electrode.
  • Optimisation electrode geometries and architecture leading to patents.
  • “Blue book” providing a detail information of electroactive sites of different geometries and architectures of printed electrodes.

See our application hints and tips here

Sponsoring Company Enserv
Company Website Eligibility

We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent experience to the same level.

Normally, we would expect candidates to have met the University’s English Language requirements (e.g. IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) by point of application. 

Full eligibility criteria can be found at https://www.materials-academy.co.uk/eligibility


Fees at UK/EU rate and stipend of £20000 per annum for each of four years.

For full details on funding eligibility, please refer to the Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) Website.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is not open to ‘International’ candidates.

Closing Date 30 August 2020

Start Date October 2020

Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk