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.


  • 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