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PhD Studentships in Photo-Electrochemical Splitting of Brine.

IP-2 PhD Studentships in Photo-Electrochemical Splitting of Brine.  

Contract: Full Time/Fixed Term

We are seeking outstanding candidates for fully-funded studentships. The studentships are for 3 years. The successful candidates will be expected to begin the programme before April 2019.

About the Project

Two fully funded PhD studentships are offered as part of the US-Ireland collaborative project EMERALD (Emerging Materials for Energy storage and Environmental Research enabled through Atomic Layer Deposition). The overall aim of EMERALD is to develop the understanding of materials and device design parameters required for efficient (>10% solar-to-fuel) and stable solar-driven synthesis of fuel (H2). While the primary aim of solar driven water splitting is to obtain H2, the most challenging aspect of the water splitting process is to drive the oxygen evolution reaction at the anode of the system. This project aims to circumvent this limiting step by studying solar driven reactions in salt water (brine) to create the disinfectant hypochlorite at the anode and hydrogen at the cathode. The disinfectant hypochlorite is itself a valuable resource to create potable water and disinfected surfaces. To achieve this, the project will investigate electrode materials selection and composition optimization, atomic layer deposition coating methods to control local catalytic, electronic and adhesion properties, and the impact these factors have on the efficiency and durability of (photo) electrochemical cells. The work will be divided into several closely linked tasks between Tyndall National Institute and our partners at Queen’s University Belfast and Stanford University. The research at Tyndall National Institute will be supervised by Dr Ian Povey and Professor Paul Hurley.

Studentship 1.

Earth abundant metal oxide catalysts for chlorine evolution with low or zero platinum group metal content.

Studentship 2

Modification of Ru-TiO2 catalysts with improved stability and activity to Ru ratios.

Key Responsibilities

  • Perform high quality research into the area of solar energy conversion.
  • Work as part of an international team with our partners at Queens University Belfast and Stanford University. The project may entail extend periods (2-3 months) of study at our partners laboratories.
  • Engage in the dissemination of the data through scientific publications, report writing and conference presentation
  • Engage in appropriate training and professional development opportunities
  • Carry out any additional duties as may reasonably be required within the general scope and level of the post.

Essential Criteria

  • The successful candidates will have been awarded a first or upper second class honours bachelor or master degree (or equivalent) in electrical engineering, chemistry, physics, materials science or a closely related field.
  • The successful candidates will be expected to work as part of an interdisciplinary team and will be required to develop a wide ranging skill set.
  • Experience in materials growth (CVD or ALD), electrochemistry and/or the electrical characterisation of semiconductor materials and devices, although not essential, would be an advantage.

For further information and informal enquiries please contact Dr Ian Povey at

An annual student stipend of €18,000.00 applies for this successful candidate for this position.  Yearly University academic fees will paid by the Tyndall National Institute.

Application Instructions

Step 1 - please click here to download the Application form and indicate the Job Reference IP-2

Step 2 - return the completed Application form, together with your CV, motivation letter and references to  Handwritten forms will not be accepted.

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.