The Department of Interface Science (www.fhi.mpg.de/isc-department) 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 (www.fhi.mpg.de/isc-dept/research-groups/electrochemistry) at the Department of Interface Science.
Water needs to be dissociated (H2O ⇾ H+ + OH-) whenever it is directly involved in an electrochemical reaction, such as for the hydrogen evolution reaction in alkaline conditions where the concentration of free protons is very low (2 H2O + 2e- ⇾ H2 + 2OH-). Similarly, water formation (H+ + OH- ⇾ H2O) is important for electrocatalysts in fuel cells. We have recently made a major advance in studying operando water dissociation independently of the electron transfer steps occurring in electrocatalysis by using bipolar membranes.
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 during electrocatalysis and inside the bipolar membrane junction. In particular, you will study the effects of water dissociation on the electrocatalyst activity, stability and selectivity. This will involve developing new experimental operando techniques, using Multiphysics simulations to model the transport processes occurring in bipolar membranes and collaborating with experts on operando (electro)catalyst characterization within the ISC department. The targeted applications will be water electrolysis, fuel cells and electrochemical CO2 reduction, among others.
The PostDoc position is initially for one year but can be extended up to three years.