PhD Studentship: Synthesis of metal carbide nanoparticles for fuel cell catalysis
This PhD will continue an exciting project in the group of Zoe Schnepp on synthesis of metal carbide nanoparticles. We have recently developed a new method to make metal carbide nanoparticles and proven the concept using iron carbide. The aim of this PhD studentship will be to explore this new synthesis method to make a range of metal carbide nanostructures. A key focus will be tungsten carbide, as this is a potential replacement for expensive platinum in green energy systems such as fuel cells. The project will develop a broad range of skills and the student will learn materials chemistry synthetic techniques (including complex synthesis of metal organic frameworks) and characterization techniques such as porosimetry, X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy.
The project is supported by a funded collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory to carry out advanced electron microscopy such as electron tomography. It is anticipated that the student will have at least one research trip to Brookhaven during their project. Students in the Schnepp group are encouraged and supported to apply for travel and research funding of their own to enhance their CVs.
For example, a recent PhD graduate spent 5 months working at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan. It is likely that the student will also gain experience of synchrotron facilities as the Schnepp Group typically visit Diamond Light Source or similar facilities at least once per year. The student will be encouraged to gain experience of electrocatalysis to further characterise their materials, through their second supervisor Dr Paramaconi Rodriguez.