Goals of Research

The basic research goal of this research unit is to study elementary reaction steps in electrocatalysis. The novel approach of this joint project is, however, that it is not the experiment that will pave the way and determine the research direction, as it is usually done in collaborative research programmes, but that the theory will in fact take a leading role by defining important issues that need to be addressed for a better understanding of elementary reaction steps in electrocatalysis. Still, the feedback between experiment and theory is crucial for the successful realization of the projects so that a give and take situation is created between the two disciplines.

In the related field of surface science, in which progresses at the gas-solid interface are studied, there has been a tremendous progress in the last decades. This is also caused to a large extent by advances in the theoretical surface science. Hence, theory and experiment can collaborate on the same footing, which has resulted in numerous very fruitful collaborations between theoretical and experimental groups addressing surface science problems. This approach shall be transfered to electrochemistry in general and electrocatalysis in particular. Therefore, the fundamental aim of this research group is to apply the rigor of microscopic surface science to the solid-liquid interface in the sense of an electrochemical surface science

In detail, the structure of the electrochemical solid-liquid interface, proton and electron transfer reactions at electrodes, reactions in electrocatalytic C1 chemistry such as methanol oxidation, and the strucure-reactivity relationship of nanostructured electrodes shall be addressed. These projects are not only interesting from a fundamental point of view but will also be of relevance for in principle any study in electrocatalysis since the knowledge about microscopic details of reactions in electrochemistry is also important for an understanding at the mesoscopic and macroscopic level. This may also contribute to advances in the electrochemical energy conversion and storage.