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 currently offer

1 PhD or Postdoctoral Position (m/f/d)

for the Thin Films group ( at the Department of Interface Science.

Project: Thin film oxide electrocatalysis

One scenario for the future ‘Green Economy’ involves the large-scale use of molecular hydrogen. H2 can balance fluctuations in the production of renewable energy, but green H2 can also be an energy carrier for various industrial applications. The efficiency of the electrocatalytic production of H2 by water splitting is hampered by the concomitant oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Therefore, there is a pressing need to find a highly active, cost-efficient and durable catalyst to minimize the energy overhead. Mixed oxide catalysts containing Ni, Co, Fe, Mn, La, and V have shown a promising performance in alkaline media, with a complex and not well understood dependence on the catalyst’s composition and the preparation procedure. Improving the fundamental understanding to enable a rational catalyst design is the purpose of the planned project. To this end, the mixed oxide pre-catalysts will be prepared as crystalline epitaxial films, which avoids hidden surfaces and strongly reduces the structural and compositional complexity, thus enabling a better understanding of the electrocatalytic process. In situ studies combining electrochemistry with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, low energy electron diffraction and scanning probe microscopy will be a central part this project. Further relevant tools will be operando Raman and operando X-ray scattering/absorption involving synchrotron radiation. These methods can directly observe the working thin film catalyst, thus revealing the catalyst surface structure and composition and reaction intermediates under reaction conditions.

The PhD position is funded for three years. The Postdoc position is initially for one year but can be extended up to three years.

We expect a PhD candidate to have:
• A master degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Physics, Physical Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.
• First publications in renowned peer-reviewed journals.
• Knowledge about electrochemistry, ultra-high-vacuum technology, XPS, thin film preparation, or scanning probe microscopy would be
• High drive to solve scientific and practical/instrumental challenges independently.
• Collaborative spirit and excellent English skills.

We expect a postdoctoral candidate to have:

• A PhD degree in Chemistry, Physics, Physical Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.
• A strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals.
• Experience with ultra-high vacuum technology, XPS, scanning probe microscopy methods, and thin film preparation.
• Knowledge about electrochemistry would be profitable.
• High drive to solve scientific and practical/instrumental challenges independently.
• Collaborative spirit and excellent English skills.

Your Application

Please submit your application via our online application portal as soon as possible but latest by July 31, 2022 including the following documents:

• Curriculum vitae
• List of publications
• Names and email addresses of at least three references

Max Planck Society
The Max Planck Society endeavours to achieve gender equality and diversity. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society aims to increase the participation of women in research. Therefore, applications by women are particularly welcome. The Max Planck Society is also committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.


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.

For more information please contact:

Dr. Helmut Kuhlenbeck (
Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Faradayweg 4-6, 14195 Berlin

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