ARC Discovery Project

Prof Rob Atkin (University of Western Australia), A/Prof Debbie Silvester-Dean (Curtin University) and Prof Greg Warr (University of Sydney) are seeking expressions of interest for one postdoctoral position (UWA) and 2 PhD positions (Curtin, Sydney) to work on a ARC Discovery project focused on the Nanoscale Dynamics and Structure of Surface Active Ionic Liquids (SAILs) at Electrodes. This project is being undertaken in collaboration with Prof Margarida Costa-Gomes (CNRS and ENS Lyon, France) and Prof Agilio Padua (ENS Lyon, France).

This project will produce new, high performance, surface active ionic liquids. Surface active ionic liquids are pure salts in which one of the ions is based on a surfactant molecule. Surface active ionic liquids are much more effective than conventional electrolytes for some applications, but only at elevated temperature; at low temperature, ion dynamics are too slow. We will use cutting edge techniques to probe ion dynamics in surface active ionic liquids in the bulk and at electrode surfaces, and use this to elucidate rules for the rational design of new surface active ionic liquids with fast dynamics at low temperature, towards their use at room temperature in diverse areas; this project will target capacitors and gas sensors.

The successful applicants will be expected to start work in 2021. Due to covid restrictions, this means the positions are likely only possible for Australian based applicants, or Australian residents overseas able to return to Australia.

Expressions of interest should include a CV and cover letter and be directed to:

  • Rob Atkin ([email protected]) for the 2 year postdoctoral position at UWA. The project will use the Asylum Cypher Video Rate Atomic Force Microscope to undertake real time studies of the kinetics and mechanisms of dynamic IL processes at the nanoscale. Experience with the use of atomic force microscopy, ionic liquids or with processes at solid/liquid interfaces would be advantageous for this project.
  • Debbie Silvester-Dean ([email protected]) for the PhD project at Curtin University, which will use cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) to directly investigate how changing the chemical structure, composition and temperature of surface active ionic liquids affects their performance for charge storage by measuring capacitance over a wide range of potential and time domains.
  • Gregory Warr ([email protected]) for the PhD project at University of Sydney, which will use will use a suite of X-ray and neutron scattering techniques to probe the structure-dynamics relationship in surface active ionic liquid based systems, overlapping with and extending the dynamic range beyond that directly available via video-rate Atomic Force Microscopy

PhD Scholarships at UNSW in 2021

Hydrogen Fuel Cells:

We are looking for two PhD candidates to join the UNSW NanoElectroChemistry group and carry out exciting research in hydrogen fuel cells. The successful applicant will synthesize catalysts, test their performances in hydrogen fuel cell devices, and carry out advanced in situ and operando characterisation and optimizations. Candidates with backgrounds in chemistry, chemical engineering or material science are welcome to apply for this position. An interest or previous experience to electrochemistry and advanced characterization techniques is welcome. A degree of experience with working in projects with industrial aspects would be desirable.

Electrosynthesis of ammonia:

We are looking for one PhD candidate to join the UNSW NanoElectroChemistry group and carry out exciting research in electrocatalytic reduction of nitrogen for ammonia synthesis. The successful applicant will synthesize catalysts, test their performances in electrochemical cells, and detect the formed ammonia using new analytical methods. Candidates with backgrounds in chemistry, chemical engineering or material science are welcome to apply for this position. An interest or previous experience to electrochemistry and material preparation and characterization techniques is welcome.Candidates interested in these positions are welcome to contact Prof Zhao ([email protected]) or Dr Meyer ([email protected]) via email, and attach a full CV and a cover letter.

About UNSW:

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is one of the leading universities in Australia and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities (the 44th in the 2021 QS World University Rankings). The School of Chemistry has a proud history back to 1833, and is in the UNSW Kensington Campus, within easy reach of Sydney’s CBD, sandy beaches, national parks, airport, and suburbs with their unique identities. Sydney is consistently rated as one of the world’s most liveable cities.

About the Nanoelectrochemistry group:

The NanoElectroChemistry group led by Professor Chuan Zhao in School of Chemistry at UNSW is composed of 26 enthusiastic researchers from 8 countries. The group is one of the leaders in electrochemistry and nanomaterials in Australia, and publishes regularly in highly respected journals such as Nature Group Journals, Advanced Materials, PNAS, JACS and Angew Chem Int Ed. The group also has strong links with industry and has several patents successfully commercialised.

https://www.chemistry.unsw.edu.au/research/research-groups/zhao-group

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