University of Reading

Materials for thermoelectric energy recovery

Deadline: Open all year round
Self Funded

Project Description

We have a vacancy for a PhD student to work on the synthesis and characterisation of inorganic materials for energy applications. The project will investigate new thermoelectric materials, which can be used in devices for the direct conversion of heat into electrical power. A particularly attractive application of thermoelectric devices is in the recovery of waste heat from other processes, as this can lead to reduced energy costs, increased competitiveness and environmental gains through reduced usage of fossil fuels, with concomitant reductions in CO2 emissions.
Nanostructuring and nanocompositing will be explored as a route to enhance the thermoelectric performance of materials. The project will involve synthesis of new chalcogenides and oxychalcogenides and structural and physical property characterisation (e.g. powder X-ray diffraction, electrical conductivity, Seebeck coefficient and thermal conductivity measurements). The group is a major user of central facilities (ISIS, Diamond) at the nearby Harwell campus, and there will be opportunities to characterise these materials by neutron diffraction or inelastic neutron scattering.

Funding Information

This is a self funded project.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, Materials or a related subject area.

Application Process

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Paz Vaqueiro ([email protected]).


S. O. Long, A. V. Powell, S. Hull, F. Orlandi, C. C. Tang, A. R. Supka, M. Fornari and P. Vaqueiro, “Jahn-Teller driven electronic instability in thermoelectric tetrahedrite”, Adv. Funct. Mater., 30, 1909409 (2020).
J. Prado-Gonjal, M. Phillips, P. Vaqueiro, G. Min and A. V. Powell, “Skutterudite thermoelectric modules with high volume-power-density: scalability and reproducibility”, ACS Appl. Energy Mater., 1, 6609–6618 (2018).
P. Vaqueiro, G. Guélou, A. Kaltzoglou, R. I. Smith, T. Barbier, E. Guilmeau and A. V. Powell, “The influence of mobile copper ions on the glass-like thermal conductivity of copper-rich tetrahedrites”, Chem. Mater., 29, 4080–4090 (2017).

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