The Department of Interface Science headed by Prof. Beatriz Roldan Cuenya at the Fritz-Haber-Institute is focused on the understanding of chemical reactions at gas/solid and liquid/solid interfaces of nanostructures for applications in the field of catalysis. The aim is to fully explore physico-chemical properties of highly controllable atomic surface structures.

1 PhD Position

PROJECT: In-situ nanoscale characterization of catalytic materials

We offer a full-time PhD student to work on the in-situ characterization of electro- and photoelectrocatalytic materials employing atomic force microscopy (AFM) in the liquid phase. Cutting edge AFM based methods will be applied to decipher the local morphological and electronic material properties under reaction conditions. These studies will be combined with catalytic reactivity and spectroelectrochemical investigations to elucidate nanoscale structure-property relationships and charge-transport phenomena at solid-liquid interfaces. In a synergistic manner, it is anticipated to translate key findings into novel strategies for designing advanced catalytic materials.

1 Postdoctoral and 1 PhD Position

PROJECT: Probing the structure of advanced materials for thermal and electrocatalysis using synchrotron radiation

Synchrotron radiation facilities are powerful X-ray sources that can host numerous experimental techniques, such as X-ray spectroscopies, scattering and imaging. Unique features of synchrotron radiation, including high intensity and broad energy spectrum, make these sources ideally suited for in situ and operando investigations of advanced materials. A central aspect of this project is the application and development of complimentary synchrotron radiation techniques (X-ray absorption spectroscopy, high- energy X-ray diffraction coupled with pair distribution function analysis, small-angle X-ray scattering) that provide information about the transformations of the catalyst structure and composition on different length scales under catalytically relevant conditions.

1 PhD Position

PROJECT: Thin film catalyst models

The topic of the project is the investigation of catalytic processes occurring on surfaces of thin film catalyst models. Such models mimic relevant aspects of a real world catalysts, but have a reduced complexity. In contrast, real world catalysts are very complex. This often prohibits to understand catalytic processes in detail, while this is more easily possible for catalyst models. Central aspects of the project are the development of thin film preparation recipes and the study of reactions at the surfaces. Several surface-sensitive experimental methods will be applied under vacuum conditions and at elevated pressures.

1 PhD Position

Unraveling the growth mechanism of shaped nanoparticles towards a rational design of novel catalysts for CO2 revalorization

There is an open PhD position in a joint proposal on nanoparticle (NP) research in the context of the Max-Planck-EPFL Center for Molecular Nanoscience and Technology.

The successful applicant will investigate the synthesis of novel nanoarchitectured catalysts as well as the evaluation of their reactivity. Both, the electroreduction of CO2 as well as its thermal hydrogenation, will be studied by means of H-type electrochemical cells and packed-bed mass flow reactors, respectively.

In collaboration with EPFL, we propose to derive mechanistic insights from the direct observation of NP nucleation and growth, to translate them into novel synthetic strategies, and to study the reactivity of such rationally designed catalysts. Exchange visits between both research centers are planned to give the student the opportunity to learn and use a broad range of techniques during his/her PhD and to collaborate with other students and scientists at the partner institution.

1 PhD Position

We are currently looking for a PhD student to support our Scanning Probe Microscopy group activities. The group has a long-standing expertise in this research field.

PROJECT: High Resolution Scanning Probe Microscopy of Model Catalysts

The topic of the project is the investigation of catalytic processes occurring on defined surfaces. The goal is to combine low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) as well as its versatile spectroscopy modes together with standard Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) and Temperature Programmed Desorption (TPD) surface science methods on model systems, which are of relevance in the field of heterogeneous catalysis.