Way to the PhD thesis: per aspera ad astra

  On February 20 2019, Nailya S. Saetova has successfully defended a PhD thesis for the degree of the PhD in chemistry, specialty 02.00.04 – Physical chemistry at the IHTE UB RAS. The subject of the dissertation is “Physico-chemical properties of lithium-borate glasses and composites based on them.” An official confirmation from the commission of the Higher Attestation Commission on awarding a degree was recevied 9th July. We sincerely congratulate the newly minted candidate of chemical sciences and wish her new discoveries and great achievements!

Nailya  told about how the preparation and defense of the work went, as well as  about further scientific plans.

My dissertation (scientific adviser Anton Aleksandrovich Raskovalov) is devoted to the study of glassy objects, which are used in various high-temperature and low-temperature electrochemical devices, for example, in lithium-ion batteries.  Despite the widespread distribution of these batteries, safety problems still arise during their operation. The use of glassy materials as electrolyte and / or electrode materials will replace the most vulnerable part of the Li-ion batteries — polymer electrolyte — and thereby increase the fire and explosion safety of such devices.



In addition to practical significance, I was interested in the study of the properties and structural features of glassy materials, which I began to investigate during my studies at the Department of Glass Technology of the Ural Federal University.

As for the difficulties, it was especially hard to prepare documents for the defense in compliance with all the deadlines required by the Higher Attestation Commission, without forgetting about the main work. The help of Nina Pavlovna Kulik is invaluable here, which strictly monitors the preparation of all documents, their compliance with existing standards and timely posting on the institute’s website. It is difficult to believe, but if you look at the orders to cancel the decision of the dissertation council on awarding a degree, one of the most common reasons is the untimely placement of documents on the Internet.

Another time-consuming task was to prepare answers to questions, since the work aroused great interest and received unexpectedly many reviews of the abstract, with the latter coming the day before the defense. In the defense process, the most difficult thing was to start reporting the results of our work: nervousness prevents us from focusing on seemingly perfectly rehearsed speech and long-familiar slides. But this excitement passes in the first minutes of the report, there is nothing to worry about anymore, and there is no sense in it: there is nowhere to retreat, and there are only two possible solutions to the dissertation council.

I would like to advise future candidates for a degree if possible to avoid second protection on the same day as anyone: no one knows how the first defense will go, how lively (and lengthy) discussions and speeches will be. Therefore, your defense can shift in time by an hour or more, which is quite confusing and adds unnecessary experiences. But in general, the advice is standard: less nervous, more faith in yourself and your knowledge and devote the night before protecting to the health sleep, and not a convulsive repetition of an already perfectly rehearsed text.

In  future, I would like to continue the study of oxide glasses for various electrochemical applications, specifying the study of the structural features of such materials and consideration of the relationship between their structure and properties. While still in graduate school, I began to study glass sealers for solid oxide electrochemical devices, and today this is the main direction of my work.


Among the publications related to this work, it is interesting  to pay special attention to the following:

  1. Saetova, N. S. The influence of lithium oxide concentration on the transport properties of glasses in the Li2O–B2O3–SiO2 system / N. S. Saetova, A. A. Raskovalov, D. Antonov, T. V. Yaroslavtseva, O. G. Reznitskikh, N. I. Kadyrova // J. Non-Cryst. Solids. – 2016. – V. 443. – P. 75–81. (DOI: 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2016.04.025)

  2. Il’ina, E. A. Composite electrolytes Li7La3Zr2O12–glassy Li2O–B2O3–SiO2 / E. A. Il’ina, A. Raskovalov, N. S. Saetova, B. D. Antonov, O. G. Reznitskikh // Solid State Ionics. – 2016. – V. 296. – P. 26–30.( https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssi.2016.09.003)

  3. Saetova, N. S. Conductivity and spectroscopic studies of Li2O–V2O5–B2O3 glasses / N. S. Saetova, A. A. Raskovalov, B. D. Antonov, T. V. Yaroslavtseva, O. G. Reznitskikh, E. V. Zabolotskaya, N. I. Kadyrova, A. A. Telyatnikova // Ionics. – 2018. – V. 24. – P. 1929–1938 (https://doi.org/10.1007/s11581-018-2452-3)