Helmholtz Young Investigator Research Group
Photo-Electrochemical Scanning Probe Microscopy
Our research group focuses on material synthesis and nanoscale understanding of solid-liquid interfaces for applications in catalysis and energy conversion. Key catalytic reactions including CO2 conversion are challenged by degradation of employed materials under operating conditions, performance-limiting inefficiencies at catalyst-electrode interfaces, and limited selectivity and efficiency of catalysts for multi-electron and proton-coupled transformations. Deficient nanoscale elucidation of structure-property relationships and dynamic material properties under reaction conditions hamper progress toward the synthesis of next-generation material systems. We address these challenges by employing high-spatiotemporal resolution scanning probe microscopy including atomic force microscopy in liquid phase to decipher in-situ / operando the structural, electronic, and catalytic properties of selected materials under reaction conditions and external stimuli. Combined with a suite of advanced spectroscopic characterization tools, we elucidate nanoscale structure-property relationships and charge-transport phenomena at solid-liquid interfaces. These efforts are combined synergistically with the synthesis of advanced catalytic materials.