Powering the Internet of things - characterization of micro-Solid Oxide Cell electrodes
A breakthrough in micro-energy harvesting and storage technologies is required to cover the increasing demand of autonomous wireless sensor nodes (WSN) for the future Internet of Things (IoT), which is considered one of the five technologies that will change the world by connecting 27 billion devices and generating €2 trillion market by 2025. The FeTOpen European HARVESTORE project, in which the our group at LMGP participates, aims to power these IoT nodes from ubiquitous heat and light sources by using nano-enabled micro-energy systems with a footprint below 1cm3. A radically new family of all-solid state micro-energy sources able to harvest and store energy at the same time will be developed. Within this European project our group focuses on the realization and implementation of reversible micro-Solid Oxide Cells.
These cutting edge concept requires a significantly reduced operation temperature as compared to conventional solid oxide cells, with oxygen activity being a key parameter in the optimization of performance. However, gaps in the physicochemical understanding of oxygen mass transport and reaction kinetics prevail. Completing this picture is expected to significantly contribute to improved cell efficiency and is therefore highly interesting from a fundamental point of view as well as for industrial implementation. The goal of this project is the characterization of oxide electrodes and micro devices to advance fundamental electrochemical knowledge and identify pathways for better electrode performance.

Project description
This project will focus on the advanced characterization of cathode materials and prototype micro devices for the development of micro-Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (μ-SOFC) and will be carried out within the framework of FeTOpen European HARVESTORE project.
The Master student will be involved in the growth, structural and electrochemical characterization of La2NiO4 thin films. Samples will be deposited by Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) and characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy at the premise.
Electrical and electrochemical properties will be studied using electrical conductivity relaxation measurements and impedance spectroscopy at various temperatures (300-600°C) and oxygen partial pressures. These measurements will allow to obtain insight in the involved defect chemistry and reaction mechanisms of the electrode surfaces.

Scientific environment:
The candidate will work within the LMGP, Materials and Physical Engineering Laboratory, in the Oxides for Nanoionic Devices group, within the Nanomat Team.
Located in the heart of an exceptional scientific environment, the LMGP offers the applicant a rewarding place to work.

Requested background:  We are looking for a highly-motivated Engineering School or M2 Masters student with a strong interest in experimental physics and materials science. Interpersonal skills, dynamism, rigor and teamwork abilities will be appreciated. Candidates should have good English writing and speaking skills. Group meetings and supervision will be in English.