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Subject of the Master's internship

Thermotropic Ionic Liquid Crystals: Towards tuneable-by-design electrolytes

​​​PhD may follow
Published on 9 December 2019
Main goals:
This graduate research project aims at generating and studying libraries of single-cation (e.g. Li+, Na+, etc.) conducting polymerized thin films. Thermotropic ionic liquid crystals (TILCs) featuring photo-crosslinkable end-moieties will be photo-crosslinked in situ for their use at the heart of next generation solid-state batteries. Beyond synthetic aspects, interplay between structure & transport properties will be studied to reveal directed 1D vs. 2D vs. 3D. ionic transport features within solid-state electrolytes encoding precise morphologies.

Pedagogical interests and skills targeted
Embedded within the teams developing a recently selected (July 2019) and funded national project (ANR-CITADEL), the candidate will collaborate during this 5.5-month long M2R training period with chemists, electrochemists & physicists to characterize libraries of single-cation photo-crosslinked electrolytes. Benefiting from the state-of-the-art research facilities of the SyMMES lab at IRIG, he/she will be offered the opportunity to pursue his/her M2R project into a 3 year-long PhD starting in the 2020/2021 academic year.

This basic research-oriented project focusing onto soft-matter based advanced electrolytes concerns the development of electrochemical energy devices 2.0. It aims at developing families of tunable-by-design ionically conducting electrolytes relying on simple to implement, scalable and industry-compliant elaboration processes. Its overarching goal is to deliver proof of concept demonstration of efficient nanoconfined ionic transport going beyond the current state-of-the-art in reply to mankind’s energy needs (UN SDG N°7). Fulfilling this goal requires the synthesis of tailored-made electrolytes to addresses two fundamental questions for advanced nanostructured organic electrolytes: i) the role of (1D vs. 2D vs. 3D) dimensionality onto the percolation and nanoconfinement of charge carriers within multiscale phase-segregated materials with insulating & conducting sub-phases & ii) the mosaicity & the defect management in functional soft matter.

Approaches & materials used
The chemical characterizations will be carried out using NMR, FTIR and mass spectroscopies. Structure/property correlations will be revealed by combining results obtained from different techniques: Impedance spectroscopy, solid-state NMR (PFG-NMR & Relaxometry), SAXS/WAXS, POM, and thermal analysis. A multimodal experimental approach coupling complementary techniques will be applied to correlate structures and ionic transport properties across all relevant length scales.

Desired areas of expertise of the candidate 
The M2R candidate should preferably have a previous experience in one or more of the following domains 1) Organic Chemistry: (Multi-step) synthesis and purification of functional materials 2) Electrochemistry of electrolytes 3) X-Ray scattering, and 4) Soft Matter knowledge (polymer, gel, liquid crystals)

Dates of the internship: 16 February 2020 to 31 July 2020 (exact dates negotiable)
Laboratory: UMR5819-SyMMES (CNRS/CEA/UGA) (Team: STEP)
Supervisor: Dr. Manuel MARECHAL - Phone: +33 (0)4 38 78 32 85
Co- Supervisor: Dr. Patrice RANNOU - Phone: +33 (0)4 38 78 27 49

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