Post-doctoral Research Associate

This PDRA position, based with Prof Bill David at the ISIS Pulsed Neutron and Muon Source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), has arisen as part of a three-year, EPSRC-funded project, led by Dr Dan Brett of University College London, entitled “Fuel Cell Technologies for an Ammonia Economy”.

The aim of the project (value of £1.15M) is to develop a radically new system for low-temperature hydrogen fuel cells with the aim of matching the performance of proton-exchange membrane fuel cells. The research is based around the development of two new technologies: alkaline anion exchange membrane fuel cells and ammonia as a hydrogen storage/delivery system. There are three research components to the project, namely alkaline anion exchange membrane development (based at the University of Surrey), fuel cell development and system integration (University College London) and ammonia decomposition research/technology (RAL). The RAL-based research builds upon the recent discoveries of sodium amide and lithium imide as inexpensive catalysts for ammonia decomposition.


The RAL-based PDRA position will focus on the investigation of novel alkali metal and alkaline earth metal amides and imides as ammonia decomposition catalysts. This will entail 

i) solid-state synthesis of the catalysts

ii) characterization of the catalysts using a wide range of spectroscopic and thermodynamic techniques (TGA, XRD, neutron diffraction, Raman spectroscopy etc.)

iii) deployment of the catalysts in ammonia decomposition reactors with concurrent analysis/characterization.


You require to have a suitable experience in both synthetic inorganic chemistry and the use of spectroscopic and thermodynamic characterization techniques. The ability to write flexible analysis programmes using a high-level programming language such as Python is also required.

For more information and to apply, please click here.

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