Internship Project

Liquid Alkali-Metal in Batteries: Designing Compact, High-Power Anodes

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 
Department of Chemistry 

Subject Area
Battery Research
01 July – 20 September

Internship Modality
On-site Internship in Berlin 

The application is closed, and all positions have been filled.
Applications for 2025 will open in October 2024.
Project Supervisor(s)
 Johannes Baller 
Academic Level
  • Advanced undergraduate students (from second year) 
  • Graduate students 
Further Information
Project Type
Academic Research 
Project Content
The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources requires economic and sustainable electrochemical energy storage solutions with high energy and power density. A promising approach is anode-free cells with alkali-metal anodes and solid electrolytes. Such cells can be more lightweight, compact and economical than state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries. An important challenge in alkali-metal anodes is the effective management of the alkali metal. Alkali-metal anodes can be either solid or liquid. Solid alkali-metal anodes suffer from limited power capabilities. In contrast, liquid alkali-metal anodes enable high-power charging and discharging, as well as high areal capacities. 
Only effective alkali-metal management enables sufficient cycling stability and efficient use of the entire active material at low overpotentials and low operating temperatures. To improve the feasibility of liquid alkali-metal anodes we are working on improving several aspects of the anode compartment. The interaction between the alkali-metal, the current collector, and the solid electrolyte especially during phase change is major interest on the way to targeted material choice improvements. Coatings that precisely adjust the sodiophobicity/-philicity are another focus of our research. 
We had a very successful intern last summer and you can contact her for questions about her stay. We can provide her email adress for interested students. 
Tasks for Interns
  • Preparation of experiments involving alkali metals in the glovebox 
  • Chemical and electrochemical investigations of these experiments in and outside of the glovebox 
  • Literature research into the electrochemistry of alkali metals and their interaction with other materials 
  • Preparation of experimental setup for micro-computer-tomography (micro-CT) 
  • Data collection and data evaluation 
Academic Level
  • Advanced undergraduate students (from second year) 
  • Graduate students 
The most important requirement is a high degree of motivation combined with a high commitment to the research. This should be combined with good communication skills in English. On this basis, all necessary skills can be learned due to the close mentorship and support we provide at GER. 
Expected Preparation
No specific preparation is required. We can meet to discuss potential literature you could read before the project. 
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For more information on the Humboldt Internship Program or the project, please contact the program coordinator.