Dan graduated from the University of Bath in 2021, with a Master's degree in Chemistry, during which he spent a year on an industrial placement with Shell Global Solutions as a Fuel Innovations Intern. As part of this internship, Dan worked on projects associated with diesel and Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) fuels. This included creating a database for diesel vehicles that could be used for assessing additives in diesel fuel, as well as creating a tool to provide a quick scope into this data and help in the determination of whether the tested additive could feasibly be used. He also worked on a project which aimed to show benefits of GTL fuel compared to diesel, when used in a heavy-duty vehicle. Dan's final year project was looking into developing a suitable catalyst for the dehydrogenation of a Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers. Dan chose to further his studies at the AAPS CDT in the hopes of applying his knowledge to improve sustainability associated with the production and use of fuels. Outside of University, Dan enjoys playing and watching rugby, as well as spending time in the gym. He also enjoys cooking and travelling and experiencing new places.
The ever-growing global presence of the electric vehicle is seen as a positive solution to decarbonise the transport industry. As a result, chemists and material scientists are aiming to develop materials that can be used as a backbone for improved electrodes and electrolytes for next-generation batteries and supercapacitors. Dan's research will focus on the generation of materials that are considered to be part of the next generation of batteries through the use of non-line-of-sight deposition techniques, including chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD). This will provide opportunities to produce current collectors and thin films that are well-defined.
Through the methods chosen, the microstructure, morphology and chemistry of the composites can be finely-tuned to overcome potential challenges that battery materials face, such as volume changes during charging and the mechanical, chemical or electrochemical degradation of the electrodes. Focus will be drawn to potential lithium- or sodium-chalcogenide intercalation or conversion type electrode, or electrolyte materials, such as Lithium sulfides, lithium phosphates and lithium anti-perovskites, and their sodium counterparts. The initial stages will involve the synthesis of molecules that can be used as precursor material for CVD and ALD, which will then be characterised via a host of methods, including X-ray diffraction, NMR and elemental analysis. The thermal decomposition will be assessed, as will the ability of the precursor to create a thin film. The thin films will be characterised using scanning electron microscopy and will be assessed on its ability as a charge carrier. The advantages of the chosen techniques (CVD and ALD) will be exploited to improve upon cell performance. These include the ability to deposit uniform layers on a surface which can be used as a protection against chemical degradation, the ability to deposit conformally active materials onto structured backbones, such as nano-tubes, -flakes or -rods. There is also the advantage of high levels of control over stoichiometry of new materials that will be tailored to suit the cell performance by appropriately choosing the precursor materials, changing the deposition parameters and through chemical doping.
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