PhD position - In Situ Synthesis of High-Performance Electrodes for Li-ion Batteries

Context & Job description

Project Tile: In Situ Synthesis of High-Performance Electrodes for Li-ion Batteries: Li(Mn,Ni)2O4-δ spinels

The PhD project is a joint work between ILL Grenoble, LRCS Amiens, ICMCB Bordeaux and the Company UMICORE. We wish to establish close relationships between stoichiometry, morphology, structure and electrochemical properties of fully characterized positive electrode powders for Li-Ion batteries. An exhaustive approach (precursors, thermal treatments under various pO2, substitution, …) will be used to tune the synthesis of high-performance Li(Mn,Ni)2O4-δ spinels. Phase equilibria during synthesis will be explored in situ using T-controlled X-Ray or Neutron diffraction under various atmospheres. Structural characterizations of powders and/or materials prepared at large scale at UMICORE will be performed, using high-resolution neutron diffraction at ILL. Electrochemical studies will be performed on laboratory and industry-like cells to understand what governs the voltage-composition profiles, the reversibility, the contributions of Ni or Mn. Operando investigations during battery cycling will be conducted with neutron diffraction, synchrotron XRD, X-Ray Absorption, at various T, thanks to several cells already developed, jointly. The PhD candidate will benefit from an already existing extensive collaboration between the partners who are world-renowned actors in the field of materials chemistry for electrochemical energy storage.

Further information may be obtained from Christian MASQUELIER (, Laurence CROGUENNEC (, Emmanuelle SUARD ( and Pierre-Etienne CABELGUEN (


Expected profile

  • Degree allowing enrolment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in Chemistry, Materials Science or closely related science
  • A background in energy storage materials and electrochemistry is welcome but not essential
  • A solid background in synthesis, inorganic chemistry and structural characterization of materials is essential
  • Rigorous attention to details, being ready for mobility and project management are essential in this work environment
  • Proficiency in English (A proof of upper-intermediate level would be advantageous and can be provided in the application. Applicants originating from native-English-speaking countries can apply without the need for proof of level. An official degree conducted in English will be also accepted as a proof; Students without proof upper-intermediate level may still apply and their level of English will be checked during the interview).
  • Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.
  • At the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Candidates must satisfy eligibility criteria according to the partner university requirements for PhD enrolment.

More details about the application procedure on

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of Université de Picardie Jules Verne (Amiens, France) and based most of the time at the ILL (Grenoble, France), other than a 3-months secondment at UMICORE (Brussels, Belgium). Additional visits totaling no more than 3 months may be made to the Université de Picardie Jules Verne Amiens (LRCS Laboratory) and Université de Bordeaux (ICMCB Laboratory) when needed. Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training programme will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on

Company description

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.

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