The SPECSY group investigates solid-liquid interfaces by a combination of electronic structure modelling and experimental optical spectroscopy. The aim is to understand on an atomistic level the structure of electrochemical interfaces as a function of the potential applied to the electrode. We address the challenge to convey this information through the liquid electrolyte in a time-resolved manner by employing the highly interface-sensitive optical technique reflection anisotropy spectroscopy in electrochemical environments. The experimental spectra are then interpreted with the aid of computational spectroscopy on top of an electronic structre from density functional theory. Our approach will help to understand ion adsorption and corrosion processes in solar fuel devices and batteries.


  • 23/10/2021 On Thursday, Matthias was awarded the Curious Minds Award 2021 by Merck and Manager Magazin in the section 'Energy and Mobility'. Thanks to the jury and the sponsors! Michael Saliba, on of our partners in the NETPEC project, won the prize in the category 'Materials and Active Substances', congratulations! On the same day, the founders of Biontech, Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin, were honored for their great and inspiring work on mRNA vaccines and introduced into the Hall of Fame der deutschen Forschung. Congrats and thanks for their work!
  • 20/09/2021 We have two more open positions, also at Universität Tübingen in the exciting NETPEC-project on negative emissions by photoelectrochemical approaches. One position is an experimental postdoc position on operando RAS at catalyst-electrolyte interfaces. The other position is a computational PhD position for modelling and atomistically understanding what we see on these interfaces by means of denisty functional theory and computational spectroscopy.
  • 09/09/2021 We have now an open PhD position (experimental) on high-efficiency solar water splitting for the H2Demo project. We would like to fill the position, which will be located at Universität Tübingen, the 1st of Nov. 2021 or as soon as possible. Details can be found here.
  • 26/08/2021 Manuel Finkbeiner has successfully defended his B.Sc. thesis, which he did partially in our group, at the Institute of Environmental Physics at the Universität Heidelberg. Congratulations!
  • 25/08/2021 Our newest paper "Counterbalancing light absorption and ionic transport losses in the electrolyte for integrated solar water splitting with III–V/Si dual-junctions" has appeared in Applied Physics Letters: DOI:10.1063/5.0060700 .
  • 02/08/2021 We will soon have an open postdoc (experimental) and two PhD positions (computational and experimental). Check our open positions page for updates.
  • 31/07/2021 We're looking for a student assistant (HiWi) for setting up and maintaining a project website as well as for Linux administration.
  • 02/07/2021 Our newest paper on solar water splitting in the extreme cold has appeared in Energy & Environmental Science: DOI:10.1039/D1EE00650A.
  • 03/05/2021 Exciting news: Moritz received a "best oral presentation award" of the MRS Spring 2021 Meeting in the Sustainable Routes to Fuels and Commodity Chemicals Production via Electrochemical Methods session for his talk "Chances and Challenges of Thermally Coupled Solar Water Splitting". Congratulations!
  • 21/04/2021 Our new PhD student, Mario Löw, has joined our group. Welcome!
  • 04/03/2021 The new project H2Demo on high-efficiency solar water splitting has started. Thanks to BMBF for funding.
  • 01/02/2021 Our new PhD student, Vibhav Yadav, has joined our group. Welcome!
  • 27/02/2021 We have a new experimental opening for a PhD position within the Cluster of Excellence Post Lithium Storage. More details will also follow on our positions section.
  • 15/01/2021 We will most probably have a new opening on an experimental PhD position very soon. Details will follow.
  • 01/12/2020 Two postdocs, Jongmin Kim and Moritz Kölbach, have joined us. Welcome!
  • 16/11/2020 The first  PhD student of our group, Margot Guidat, has arrived. Welcome!
  • 23/09/2020 Our spectrometer has finally arrived and is due to be installed the next days!
  • Ulm University is slowly getting back from the shutdown to normal operation. Therefore, we are now in the process of hiring people: There is one PostDoc and one PhD position on electronic structure modelling and computational spectroscopy as well as one PhD position on experimental spectroscopy of electrochemical interfaces. See here for more information.
  • 25/05/2020 Our paper "Band positions of anatase (001) and (101) surfaces in contact with water from density functional theory" has appeared in the Journal of Chemical Physics. DOI:10.1063/5.0004779.
  • 14/05/2020 The website of the SPECSY group is now online. Thanks to Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for funding the group!


Funding through the Emmy-Noether programme of the German Research foundation (DFG), the Volkswagen Foundation (2019-2020), and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) is gratefully acknowledged.


Dr. Matthias May
Universität Ulm
Institut für Theoretische Chemie
Lise-Meitner-Straße 16
89081 Ulm