3 years funded PhD offer: polyHIPE as a swiss-army-knife: development of functional and highly... (# of pos: 2)

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 01 Jun 2021

PhD Offer

polyHIPE as a swiss-army-knife: development of functional and highly porous materials towards energy and sensing driven applications

Mots clés : Poly(HIPE), polymeric materials, multi-scaled porosity, pyrolysis, covalent organic frameworks, metallic oxides, supercapacitor, sensor

Increasing demand of energy generates considerably pressure to various research fields for approaching to novel technologies towards efficient exploitation of renewable sources. Within this context, the energy conversion and storage have widely investigated involving photovoltaic, (photo) water splitting, batteries, supercapacitors, etc. Complementarily, environmental problems and healthcare services are also among grand economic and societal challenges. In this context, we are willing to deal with the development of new materials which can be dually used, eventually with mild modifications, as active material in supercapacitor and/or (electrochemical/bio) sensor. For both fields, the scientific challenges involved the fundamental chemistry as well as the properties of the electrode materials alongside with solid/electrolyte interfacial phenomena. Then, it is important to develop new functional materials and new chemical combinations to either enhance the performance and/or reduce the cost of the devices. Among various materials, Porous Polymers Synthetized within High Internal Phase Emulsions (polyHIPE) appears as interesting approach for achieving highly porous polymer networks[1,2] , which could be further converted into freestanding carbonized foam[3,4] . Consequently, there are considerable advantages of polyHIPE over other conventional materials in terms of synthesis, specific surface area (200 – 600 m2 .g‑1 ), porosity (pore size of 1–300 μm interconnecting pores of 0.1–20 μm) and possibility to tune the physical – chemical properties by changing the nature of monomer. Consequently, the polyHIPE related materials have paved the way for fabrication of interesting type of electrodes for supercapacitor[3,5] and sensor[6,7] . However, the storage performance of common porous carbon foam derived from polyHIPE is relatively poor for commercialization (< 100 F.g-1 ), with some rare exceptions[3] (~1235 F g−1 at ~1 A g−1 ). Consequently, at the current stage, polyHIPE still remains as an open field for further optimization and development.

The aim of this project is to combine the knowhow of both team in synthesis of PolyHIPE related materials and handling of supercapacitors (LPPI – CY – Cergy Paris University) and Sensing technology (SensorLab – University of the Western Cape). Within this project, we will develop advanced functional materials possessing interesting characteristics to concomitantly deal with energy storage and sensing driven applications. Thus, the influence of important parameters, from the choice of precursors, synthesis methods to the elaboration of electrode, on the performance of the final devices will be intensively studied.

In term of characterization and optimization, both laboratories possess several technics to characterize different polyHIPE’s frameworks (SEM/TEM microscopies, Raman, FTIR, liquid/solid NMR, thermomechanical techniques, electrochemistry… In parallel with morphological characterization, the charge transfer kinetic, mass transport, storage performances will be investigated by evaluating different polyHIPE structures. Furthermore, the specific interaction between polyHIPE related networks and different species in solution, including charged and neutral ones (cations, anions, targeted molecules, etc.) will also be explored. These parameters can be obtained by (Localized) Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS), Cyclic voltammetry. Even though different polyHIPE have already been fabricated, there is no systematic study up-to-date on the influence of the nature of monomer, the morphology of the foam upon the quantity of hold charges and the specific interaction at the interface electrode/solution. This study will allow not only a better understanding on the charge transport profiles and the diffusion within the film but also important step forward to optimize the system.

During the PhD journey, the candidate will acquire necessary tools and techniques in handling material engineering, organic/ metal – organic/ polymers synthesis, electrochemical systems and multiple techniques of characterization. The candidate should be very motivated and autonomous and have good knowledge in material science and/or electrochemistry. Interested candidates may send their resumé and CV via email.

Supervision : Prof. Pierre – Henri AUBERT (Supervisor), Dr. Thuan Nguyen PHAM TRUONG (thuan-nguyen.pham-truong@cyu.fr ) et Dr. Cedric Vancaeyzeele (co-supervisors)

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