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Research Associate

Applications are invited for a Research Associate to perform advanced density functional calculations of the surface structure, chemistry and reactivity of selected anode materials associated with the design of new high temperature electrolyser/fuel cell systems. Possible materials include LaxSr1-xMnO3-δ, LaxSr1-xFeO3-δ, LaxSr1-xCoyFe1-yO3-δ and BaxSr1-xCo0.8Fe0.2O3 - δ. The calculations will proceed in parallel with experimental studies on the same materials performed in collaboration with groups at MIT and Tsinghua University. The combined project aims to develop high-efficiency, regenerative solid oxide cells and stacks for liquid fuel production from the co-electrolysis of steam and carbon dioxide using nuclear energy as the high-temperature heat source. This is a new technology that enables nuclear plants to store energy and to operate in a load-following mode. The research focuses on materials behaviour and process design, using advanced experimental and computational methods, to optimize the longevity and cost-effectiveness of the technology. The Tsinghua group are performing the electrochemical testing and performance optimisation, the MIT group are characterising the oxide surfaces and gaseous reactions and the Atomistic Simulation Group at Cambridge are performing the density functional modelling to address the key issues of electrode stability and degradation.

Suitable candidates should have a PhD in condensed matter physics, chemistry or materials science and have experience with density functional calculations and large scale computing. He/she should be able to interact closely with the experimental groups and be prepared to travel to the US and China. Most of the large scale computing will be performed on the HPC system at the University of Cambridge.

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University of Cambridge