Post doctoral position (UWA) and 2x PhD positions (Curtin, USyd)

11 Dec 2020 1:36 PM | Christine Browne (Administrator)

Prof Rob Atkin (University of Western Australia), A/Prof Debbie Silvester-Dean (Curtin University) and Prof Greg Warr (University of Sydney) are seeking expressions of interest for one postdoctoral position (UWA) and 2 PhD positions (Curtin, Sydney) to work on a ARC Discovery project focused on the Nanoscale Dynamics and Structure of Surface Active Ionic Liquids (SAILs) at Electrodes. This project is being undertaken in collaboration with Prof Margarida Costa-Gomes (CNRS and ENS Lyon, France) and Prof Agilio Padua (ENS Lyon, France).

This project will produce new, high performance, surface active ionic liquids. Surface active ionic liquids are pure salts in which one of the ions is based on a surfactant molecule. Surface active ionic liquids are much more effective than conventional electrolytes for some applications, but only at elevated temperature; at low temperature, ion dynamics are too slow. We will use cutting edge techniques to probe ion dynamics in surface active ionic liquids in the bulk and at electrode surfaces, and use this to elucidate rules for the rational design of new surface active ionic liquids with fast dynamics at low temperature, towards their use at room temperature in diverse areas; this project will target capacitors and gas sensors.

The successful applicants will be expected to start work in 2021. Due to covid restrictions, this means the positions are likely only possible for Australian based applicants, or Australian residents overseas able to return to Australia.

Expressions of interest should include a CV and cover letter and be directed to:

·         Rob Atkin ( for the 2 year postdoctoral position at UWA. The project will use the Asylum Cypher Video Rate Atomic Force Microscope to undertake real time studies of the kinetics and mechanisms of dynamic IL processes at the nanoscale. Experience with the use of atomic force microscopy, ionic liquids or with processes at solid/liquid interfaces would be advantageous for this project.

·         Debbie Silvester-Dean ( for the PhD project at Curtin University, which will use cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) to directly investigate how changing the chemical structure, composition and temperature of surface active ionic liquids affects their performance for charge storage by measuring capacitance over a wide range of potential and time domains.

·         Gregory Warr ( for the PhD project at University of Sydney, which will use a suite of X-ray and neutron scattering techniques to probe the structure-dynamics relationship in surface active ionic liquid based systems, overlapping with and extending the dynamic range beyond that directly available via video-rate Atomic Force Microscopy.

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