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Research Topics

Two-dimensional (2D) inorganic transition metal boride nanosheets are emerging materials for energy application due to their unique properties. Typical processing routes involve chemical etching of bulk material synthesized via solid-state reaction at temperatures above 1000 °C. In our work, we investigate the formation of MoB MBene domains in MoAlB thin films grown at 700 °C along with various other defects such as 90-degree twist boundaries and compositional defects. [more]
The design of new metallic materials is essential in fulfilling the promise of emerging and improving key technologies from efficient energy conversion over lightweight transport to safe medical devices. Over the last decades, two approaches in materials physics have proven immensely successful in the design of new metallic materials: Firstly, thermodynamic descriptions of crystalline phases have enabled materials scientists and engineers to tailor and process alloys to obtain a desired internal structure at the microscale. Secondly, better understanding and manipulation of the crystal defects, which govern the material’s strength, formability and corrosion resistance, has led to the development of new alloying and processing concepts that provide some of the most advanced high-performance alloys in operation today. [more]
Single-crystalline TiO2 nanowires are utilized as stable support for metal electrocatalysts. The local structure, impurity traces, and interactions between the metal and the TiO2 support are analysed by electron microscopy and atom probe tomography. These analyses are correlated to the electrochemical activity and stability, effectively establishing structure-property relationships at sub-nanometer scale.    [more]
Nanostructured manganese oxides (MnOx) can be applied in energy storage and catalysis. Thus, structure-property relationships are key for the rational design of efficient MnOx functional nanomaterials. In this project, we stablish correlations between the local structure and chemistry and the electrochemical properties of iron manganese oxide (FexMn1-xO2) nanosheets, nanowires and nanocones.
Understanding the atomic structure of functional nanomaterials and unraveling their impact on chemical reactions is important as it can provide guidelines for their improvement. In this study, low dimensional nanomaterials are synthesized using wet-chemical strategies and tested in various electrochemical reactions. Electron microscopy before and after the reactions allows to unravel the growth mechanism and the atomic arrangement as well as to identify degradation phenomena.
Intelligent design of nanostructured materials forms the basis for high efficiencies in energy applications. 3D hierarchical niobium oxide nanostructures are investigated, as they form self-organized using a facile one-step synthesis approach. Electron microscopic investigations in combination with different spectroscopic methods are used to analyse these superstructures heading towards a better understanding of the forces involved in self-organization at the nanoscale. [more]
The sunlight is capable of answering the global energy need. Semiconducting materials have been developed to convert solar radiation into fuels for energy storage and mobile applications. Electronic band alignment, carrier transport, and reaction kinetics at interfaces make the system optimization a joint adventure for physicists, materials scientists, and chemists. In our group, we apply structural and electrochemical characterization to study nanostructured materials and their stability. [more]
Complex solid solution nanoparticles (often called high-entropy alloys) are promising catalyst for various energy application. Our research is dedicated to CrMnFeCoNi complex solid solution nanoparticles which possess a high activity towards oxygen reduction reaction thanks to the interplay of multi-elements active sites. An exceptionally high activity in alkaline media was found. [more]
To prevent global temperature from rising over 1.5 °C, it is critical to decarbonize our energy system by replacing fossil fuels with more green alternatives. In the transition to a world powered by renewable energy sources, fuel cell technology can have a major role. This project focuses on studying the degradation suffered by polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells during operation, one of the biggest issues for their widespread commercialization. [more]
It is four decades that lanthanides doped semiconductors are used to generate light. The most interesting feature of lanthanide emission is their very sharp luminescent lines. It enables them to be used in various applications such as TV displays and solid-state lasers. This is due to 4f electrons being effectively shielded from the surrounding crystal field by the outer filled 5s and 5p shells. The 4f shell is not fully occupied which allows transitions to happen within the f orbital. [more]
The CarMON project, short for Carbon Metal-Oxide Nanohybrids, is performed by the INP - Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (Greifswald), the INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials (Saarbrücken) and our group. Novel materials are developed by combining metal oxides and carbonaceous materials for electrochemical energy storage and water desalination. Synergistic effects on the nanoscale between these two material types can lead to overall increased performance. [more]
Thermoelectrics have attracted increasing attention as a sustainable and flexible source of electricity able to meet a wide range of power requirements. Their application is wide as they could be used as main source of electricity as in satellites or used to increase efficiency of thermal processes in industries or cars or any other application where temperature gradients exist to produce electricity. The conversion efficiency of thermoelectrics materials is determined by the dimensionless figure of merit, zT, which depends on the thermal and electrical conductivity, the Seebeck coefficient and the temperature. These transport properties are closely related to the micro-/nanostructure of the investigated thermoelectrics materials which can be modified by the processing methods and chemical compositions. [more]
Metals are ductile and ceramics are stiff. Ideally, these advantageous properties of each material class can be combined in one material. Examples are nanolaminated systems such as Mo2BC and Cr2AlC. In this project, we focus on the atomic level analysis of these materials using aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy. [more]
Thin films are used in a variety of technologies, e.g. as coatings or for microelectronic applications. Miniaturization and the eventually high surface to volume ratio might enhance thin film degradation. Understanding and controlling of the underlying processes will help to establish reliable and controlled devices or new scopes of application. In this project, we focus on well-defined aluminum thin films as model system and their solid state dewetting behavior. [more]

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