How do electrochemical reactions work at the quantum level?

Video interview with Stefan Wippermann about his latest research results

Electrochemical processes play a central role for sustainable energy conversion and storage technologies, such as water splitting, hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. In order to maximize the efficiency, stability and life expectancy of these devices, it is necessary to develop accurate simulation techniques to explore and predict structural properties and chemical reactions at electrified surfaces in contact with liquid electrolytes. In this video, Stefan Wippermann, head of the group "Atomistic Modelling", puts forward ideas on how to simulate electrochemical processes with controlled electrode potential from first principles, i.e. solving the respective fundamental physical equations on high performance computers. The present work reveals the response of liquid water to an electric field at electrode/electrolyte interfaces under potential control. These developments open the door towards predicting and understanding the precise mechanistic details and dynamics of electrochemical processes at the quantum level.

Florian Deißenbeck, Christoph Freysoldt, Mira Todorova, Jörg Neugebauer, and Stefan Martin Wippermann, "Dielectric Properties of Nanoconfined Water: A Canonical Thermopotentiostat Approach," Physical Review Letters 126 (13), 136803 (2021).

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