The Department of Interface Science headed by Prof. Beatriz Roldán Cuenya at the Fritz Haber Institute carries out cutting-edge research on advanced functional materials with applications in heterogeneous catalysis, energy conversion and electrochemistry. By combining unique synthesis methods, state-of-the art tools for experimental characterization and advanced approaches to data analysis, atomistic details of thermal catalysis and electrochemical reactions at gas/solid and liquid/solid interfaces are revealed. In particular, structure-reactivity correlations on nanostructured materials can be established, paving the way for the rational design of novel catalytic materials.

We are currently looking for a PhD student for the electrochemistry group ( at the Department of Interface Science.

1 PhD Position (f/m/d)

PROJECT: Fundamental processes in next generation bipolar membranes

Bipolar membranes can dissociate or form water (H++OH- ↔ H2O) at the interface between a proton and a hydroxide ion conductor under applied bias. This ability enables bipolar membranes to maintain a pH gradient across an electrochemical device between anode and cathode and has led to their industrial application in electrodialysis. Recently, we have made a major discovery that links the water dissociation catalysis occuring inside the bipolar membrane junction to water dissociation occuring on electrocatalyst surfaces. This fundamental link shows us that the bipolar membrane junction can also be used as a way to study operando water dissociation fundamentals.

The selected candidate will be joining this new research direction that is being established within the ISC department. Your main goal will be to better understand operando water dissociation and water formation inside the bipolar membrane junction and during electrocatalysis. Additionally, bipolar membranes are already being applied industrially (with poorer performance than our most recent results) and have a wealth of future application, such as for fuel cells and the electrochemical CO2 reduction; a unique situation, where your fundamental work has the potential for direct practical impact. After successfully completing the PhD you will have a unique combination of skills that will make you well-equipped to continue fundamental research or pivot into the industry.

The PhD position is for three years.


We expect candidates to have a:
•  A MSc degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physical Chemistry, Materials Science or Physics with excellent grades in
   relevant courses. Experience in Electrochemistry is a clear advantage.
•  Affinity for performing complex electrochemistry experiments with a high drive to solve scientific and practical/instrumental
•  Experience with simulations (e.g. COMSOL) or programming languages (e.g. Matlab or Python) is preferred.
•  Collaborative spirit and ability to work in an international research environment.


Go to and submit your application via our online application portal as soon as possible but latest by June 30, 2021 including the following documents:
• Curriculum vitae
• List of peer-reviewed publications
• Names and email addresses of three references

For more information, please contact
Dr. Sebastian Oener ( )
Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Faradayweg 4-6, 14195 Berlin
The Max Planck Society aims to increase the participation of women in research. Therefore, applications by women are particularly welcome. Handicapped individuals are especially encouraged to apply. These applicants will be given priority in the case of same qualifications.

We handle applications electronically, observing the German data privacy laws. By sending the application, the applicant declares his or her consent.


The Fritz Haber Institute (FHI) is located in the quiet south-west of Gemany’s capital Berlin, which is a large, tolerant and cosmopolitan city. Berlin offers a wide variety of culture, art, music, and outdoor opportunities.

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