Novel Nanostructured Anodes for Green Energy Battery Storage

Key Information

Supervisors: Prof R Palmer and Dr Y Niu

Industrial Supervisor: Dr J Cookson

Expected Interview Date: Mid June 2021

Background / Overview

Lithium-ion batteries are a familiar component of the current electric revolution. The standard material used for the battery anode is graphite, but this has limited capacity for Lithium uptake, so the search is on for new anode materials. Silicon has a much higher capacity for Lithium than graphite, but there are problems with swelling and associated mechanical failures when the Lithium is absorbed. The purpose of this project is to explore a new manufacturing technology – scaled-up nanoparticle beam deposition in vacuum – to create nanostructured porous films of Silicon nanoparticles. The gaps between the nanoparticle provide channels for Li access and room for expansion of the Silicon particles.

Project Aims

The project will exploit the new MACS technology (Matrix Assembly Cluster Source), where Swansea leads the world in scale-up of nanoparticle beam deposition, together with the technology and business expertise of the Johnson Matthey company through their Technical Centre in Reading, where the new nanostructured anode materials will be tested. The nanoparticle beam deposition and associated high resolution electron microscopy and analysis work will be carried out in Swansea and at our satellite lab at Diamond, Harwell.

The project will test the feasibility of the novel manufacturing route for the future production of high-capacity battery electrodes.

The MSc runs for 12 months and is purely a research project examined through a thesis; there are no lectures.

Website: Johnson Matthey is a world leading high-tech chemicals company committed to sustainable manufacturing and clean environment.


We welcome applications from candidates with an honours degree in Physics, Chemistry, or any Engineering discipline (minimum level 2:1), Comfortableness with, or at least a desire to work with, sophisticated and novel experimental equipment will be essential. An interest in numerical analysis or simulations may be an advantaged for the materials microscopy. Normally, we would expect candidates to have met the University’s English Language requirements (e.g., IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) by point of application.
Full eligibility criteria at


Fees at UK/EU rate, and Stipend £12500, both for the period of one year.
For full details on funding eligibility, please refer to the Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) Website.
Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is not open to ‘International’ candidates.

Closing Date: 04 July 2021

Start Date: October 2021

Applications and informal enquiries about this studentship should be directed by email to: