Characterization of Materials for Renewable Energy Applications
The equilibrium and nonequilibrium dynamics of lattice defects (e.g., vacant sides in the lattice that are known as vacancies) encompass their collective interaction with each other and their surroundings. Fundamentally, lattice defects determine the electronic, optoelectronic, and chemical properties of materials. For this reason, the physics underlying defect interactions, migration, and exchange is not only important for our basic understanding of material properties but it also underpins a wide spectrum of technologies that are strategically important both for Québec and Canada, including solid oxide fuel cells, oxygen separation membranes, energy conversion, computing devices, and high-temperature superconductors. Within these applications, perovskites (i.e., “cubic” oxide structures with a general formula of ABO3 where A (e.g., Ca or Sr) and B (e.g., Nb or Ti) are cations and O is the anion) are widely utilized either as a primary component or as a substrate in which the dynamics of charged oxygen vacancy defects play an important role. Current quantitative knowledge regarding the dynamics of vacancy mobility in perovskites is solely based upon volume and/or time-averaged measurements. The underlying nanoscale phenomena are thus averaged over scales orders of magnitude larger than the governing spatial and temporal lattice dimensions. This impedes our understanding of the basic physical principles governing defect migration in inorganic materials. To fill the gap for this fundamental problem, this research project will concentrate on the measurements of dynamics of vacancy migration at the relevant spatial and temporal scales using time-resolved scanning probe microscopy (SPM) methodologies. The outcome of this project will allow us to understand the spatial and temporal variation of the time constant and energy barriers associated with oxygen vacancy migration in inorganic perovskites as a function of surface and bulk defect density. This research project, which correlates physical properties at the ultimate spatial and temporal limits will not only contribute to solving long-lasting scientific problems of charge generation, transport, and storage in complex materials systems but also have a positive impact on the environment as an enhanced understanding of the intrinsic and collective charge carrier dynamics is the premier requirement for new emerging renewable energy and quantum technologies applications.
Good communication skills are required.
As this is a Ph.D. project, self-motivation of the candidate is required for its success.
Basic programming with MATLAB or eager to learn it.
Experience on experimental work is an asset but not required.
The application shall include all these documents named as noted here:
• a curriculum vitae with the list of published articles,
• a brief description of research plan (one page max).