Til bevillingsoversigt

Structure-property relationship and structural dynamics of layered transition metal oxides

Carlsbergfondets internationaliseringsstipendier


The aim of the project is to elucidate the relationship between local/crystal structure, structural dynamics and electrochemical properties of layered transition metal oxides, NaxMO2 (M=Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, etc.), for sodium-ion battery electrode applications. The project will employ advanced large-scale facility radiation (X-ray and neutron) scattering and spectroscopic techniques to investigate the structural dynamics of Na during charge/discharge in selected NaxMO2 electrode compounds in order to shed light onto the atomic scale mechanisms governing their electrochemical performance. Furthermore, the influence of crystal water on the structural stability and electrochemical properties of the layered oxide materials will be examined.


A number of challenges remain unsolved for the production of commercially viable sodium-ion batteries, including the optimization of electrode materials capable of reversible insertion and extraction of sodium-ions. The development of battery materials is in part restricted by our limited understanding of the fundamental structural mechanisms in play within the electrode materials during operation. In order to improve the performance of the increasingly complex modern-day electrode materials, a detailed understanding of the relationship between their crystal structure, structural dynamics and physical properties is required. It is the hope that fundamental insight gained in the present project will help facilitate the rational design and tailoring of the next-generation battery materials.


The project will be carried out in collaboration with Senior Lecturer Dr. Neeraj Sharma at the School of Chemistry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Dr. Sharma and his team are experts in the field of battery materials with extensive experience in the use of large-scale facility X-ray and neutron based techniques. Dr. Sharma has particularly strong ties to the neutron beamlines at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the X-ray instruments at the Australian Synchrotron. The project is designed to utilize my experience with structural modelling of X-ray and neutron diffraction data and expand upon it, by introducing several new techniques to my "toolbox", such as inelastic/quasielastic neutron scattering and X-ray absorption spectroscopy.


Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries currently dominate the electrochemical energy storage market. However, the increasing demand for high-performance batteries threatens to deplete the world's Li resources within the next decade. Consequently, applicable battery technologies based on sustainable elements are urgently needed. In this context, sodium-ion batteries constitute a very promising alternative on condition that the technology is sufficiently developed. In addition to being beneficial for the specific area of research, the project will also equip me with a unique skillset, which will be of great value in my future research and for the scientific community in Denmark considering the substantial Danish investment in the MAX IV synchrotron and the European Spallation Source (ESS).