03.11.20217th RUHR-Symposium: Functional Materials for Catalysis

Functional materials for catalysis are focused on the 7th RUHR Symposium that takes place in Duisburg (Fraunhofer-inHaus). In tandem talks, experts from industrial and academic partnerships will discuss concepts, synergies and scientific results.

More information are available here

12.-16.07.2021UnOCat Summer School

The first Summer School, which was supposed to take place in July 2020, has to be postponed to July 2021 because of Covid-19. The Summer School will take place in the nature park Panarbora in Waldbröl

Further information is available here.

05.10.2020Harun Tüysüz received Forcheurs Jean-Marie Lehn Prize 2020

PD Dr Harun Tüysüz was awarded the German-French Research Prize "Forcheurs Jean-Marie Lehn Prize" 2020 together with his collaborator Prof. Dr. Joseph Moran (University of Strasbourg, France) due to their achievements in the field of CO2 fixation in the context of “Origin of life”. In their joint project, together with Prof. Dr. William Martin, they have demonstrated the role of catalysis under hydrothermal vent and deep earth conditions to connect inorganic reactants with organic products at life's origin. Their joint results were recently published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

> more about: Press release MPI Kofo, 05.10.2020

Researchers from Germany and Austria met for the first interdisciplinary conference Jointly promoting catalysis research

Catalysis initiates central processes of our entire life on earth - from enzyme catalysis in metabolic processes in all organisms to natural photosynthesis and the production of synthetics and environmentally friendly energy sources. Scientists in four Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs) of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) are currently investigating how these fundamental and at the same time diverse processes of chemical catalysis work exactly and how their principles can be used for sustainable value creation.

In order to set new research impulses and create synergies in the field, the four DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centres have now organised the first joint CataLysis conference. Around 170 researchers from Germany and Austria presented their latest research findings in a joint online conference from September 30th to October 1st, 2020 and initiated new collaborations.

The participants presented their research topics in 16 lectures and 65 poster contributions. The spectrum ranged from homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, thermal catalysis and photocatalysis to (photo-) electrochemistry. The researchers also exchanged the latest findings on the methodological and theoretical characterisation of catalysis processes and on new materials and methods. After the sessions there was the possibility to meet and discuss with the speakers in a virtual room. Other virtual networking areas such as the Coffee Point or the Snack Bar offered additional opportunities to exchange ideas and initiate cooperation.

The speakers of the Collaborative Research Centres closed the conference with a positive summary: "We are thrilled to see the different and interesting developments that have emerged within catalysis research," said Prof. Michael Buchmeiser, spokesperson of CRC 1333. And Prof. Malte Behrens, spokesperson of CRC/TRR 247, added: "In order to be able to create synergies and make catalytic processes usable for important applications in the future, it is necessary to continue to illuminate this complex and multifaceted research area from all sides." Prof. Sven Rau, spokesperson of the CRC/TRR 234, is particularly pleased about the high participation of doctoral students who used this event for discussion and networking, underlining the importance of training for the sustainable catalysis research. In summary, Prof. Christian Jooss, spokesperson of CRC 1073, adds that the common goal is to link the methodologies and approaches even more strongly in the future than in the past and beyond the boundaries of the respective Collaborative Research Centres.

The spectrum of the field of catalysis is reflected in the topics of the Collaborative Research Centres:

  • CRC 1333: "Molecular Heterogeneous Catalysis in Confined Geometries"
  • CRC/TRR 247: "Heterogeneous Oxidation Catalysis in the Liquid Phase - Materials and Mechanisms in Thermal, Electro- and Photocatalysis"
  • CRC 1073: "Atom Scale Control of Energy Conversion"
  • CRC/TRR 234: "CataLight - Light-driven Molecular Catalysts in Hierarchically Structured Materials: Synthesis and Mechanistic Studies"

30.09.-01.10.20Joint catalysis conference "CataLysis"

Together with the CRC/TRR 234, the CRC 1333 and the CRC 1073, we will organize a joint catalysis conference. Due to Covid-19, the conference will take place online.

More information is available here.

© RUB, Marquard

Publication alertChallenges in the development of electrocatalysts

Efficient catalysts are crucial for energy conversion. However, findings from basic research rarely make it into practice at present. What would have to change in research to develop efficient, stable and selective catalysts for industrial application is described by Dr. Justus Masa of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, Professor Corina Andronescu of the University of Duisburg-Essen and Professor Wolfgang Schuhmann of Ruhr-Universität Bochum in a review article.

Original publication
Masa, J., Andronescu, C., Schuhmann, W.: Electrocatalysis as the Nexus for Sustainable Renewable Energy: The Gordian Knot of Activity, Stability, and Selectivity, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2020, 59 (36), 15298-15312. DOI: 10.1002/anie.202007672.

> more about: Press release Ruhr-University Bochum, 20.08.2020

© 2020 WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

Publication alertA bit of silver boosts the production rate of green hydrogen

A team of scientists at the Mülheim Chemistry Campus (MPI für Kohlenforschung + MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion) presents the possibility of electrocatalysts based on active cobalt oxide with silver coupling, thus paving the way for more effective production of green hydrogen - the sustainable "oil" of tomorrow.

Original publication
Yu, M., Moon, G., Castillo, R., Weidenthaler, C., DeBeer, S., Tüysüz, H.: Dual Role of Silver Moieties Coupled with Ordered Mesoporous Cobalt Oxide towards Electrocatalytic Oxygen Evolution Reaction, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2020, DOI: 10.1002/anie.202003801.

> more about: Press release MPI Kofo, 17.06.2020

> more about: Press release MPI CEC, 16.06.2020

© UDE/B.Engel-Albustin

26.05.2020Stéphane Kenmoe received UDE Diversity Award for Leadership

Dr. Stéphane Kenmoe, postdoc in subproject A6, has become known in Cameroon for his outstanding scientific communication. He has built up a large and active network, regularly organizes workshops for students in his home country and participates in the organization of events for young African scientists. Among other things, he is a member of the Board of the African Physical Society, where he is responsible for communication.
He also co-organizes the first conference for young African scientists in North America ("YASNA - Young African Scientists in North America"), which was to take place in Montreal in May 2020.

> more about: UDE Diversity Day 2020

18.03.2020Harun Tüysüz received DECHEMA Prize 2019

PD Dr. Harun Tüysüz who is leading the group of Heterogeneous Catalysis and Sustainable Energy at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung was awarded with the DECHEMA Prize 2019 for his outstanding research on the development of catalysts that can be used both for chemical syntheses and energy conversion. The Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie (DECHEMA) awards the prize, which is endowed with 20,000 euros, annually to excellent researchers who are engaged in technical chemistry, process engineering, biotechnology or reactor engineering.

> more about: Interview DECHEMA, 27.07.2020

> more about: Press release DECHEMA, 18.03.2020

> more about: Press release MPI Kofo, 18.03.2020

06.03.2020Short talk award for Anna Rabe

Anna Rabe, doctoral student in the C1 subproject of CRC/TRR 247, received the CENIDE Short Talk Award for an excellent short talk with the title "Synthesis of Cobalt Iron Oxide Catalysts via Co-precipitation of Crystalline Precursors" at the 2nd CENIDE conference in Bergisch Gladbach in 2020.

> more about CENIDE conference: Press release CENIDE, 06.03.2020

© RUB, Kramer

Publication alertCatalyst deposition on fragile chips

Researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) and the University of Duisburg-Essen have developed a new method of depositing catalyst particles to tiny electrodes. It is inexpensive, simple and quick to perform. In order to characterize catalysts and test their potential for various applications, researchers have to fix the particles to electrodes so that they can then be examined, for example, with transmission electron microscopy.

Original publication
Tarnev, T., Cychy, S., Andronescu, C., Muhler, M., Schuhmann, W., Chen, Y.T.: A universal nano-capillary based method of catalyst immobilization for liquid cell transmission electron microscopy, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2020, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201916419

> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 14.02.2020

© Michael Schwettmann

07.02.2020Tong Li appointed as professor at the Ruhr-University Bochum

To develop high-performance catalysts, not only good production processes are needed, but also good methods to characterize the potential catalysts. The latter is the main research interest of Tong Li, who already worked on this topic as a junior professor at the RUB. Since February 7, 2020, she has been a professor for the characterization of high-performance materials on the atomic scale.

Tong Li is an expert in atomic probe tomography. With this method in combination with transmission electron microscopy, she can make the structure of materials visible atom by atom.

> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 13.02.2020

21.01.2020Prof. Christof Schulz appointed

Starting in July 2020, Prof. Christof Schulz will accompany and review the Collaborative Research Centres in the DFG Senate Committee. He was appointed to the committee for three years by the Senate of the DFG.

> more about: Press Release University of Duisburg-Essen, 21.01.2020

Happy HolidaysChristmas greetings

Greetings of the season and our best wishes for a prosperous New Year 2020!

05.12.2019Workshop: Interfacial Solvent in Electrochemistry

On 5th of Decemer 2019,  AGEF and SFB/TRR 247 will host a joint workshop on "Interfacial Solvent in Electrochemistry" in Duisburg, at the NETZ building of the University Duisburg-Essen. AGEF is an association of electrochemistry research institutions in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The program can be found here.

26.11.2019, 1-3 pmCluster meeting "Characterization of Oxygen Vacancies in Cobalt Spinel"

The cluster meeting on "Characterization of Oxygen Vacancies in Cobalt Spinel" will take place on Tuesday, 26.11.2019 from 1 pm to 3 pm in Essen, Room S07 S02 D48.

All CRC/TRR 247 members are cordially invited to attend.

26.11.2019Frank Neese Belongs to the Highly Cited Researchers of the Year 2019

18.-21.11.2019UnOCat Lecture Series "Methods for Material Characterization and Computational Modelling"

In our first lecture series, there will be different talks about catalyst preparation, characterization, data evaluation as well as theoretical modelling.

More information can be found here.


16.11.2019Cultural Award of Eduard Rhein Foundation to Robert Schlögl

On 16 November, Prof. Robert Schlögl, Director of the department 'Heterogeneous Reactions' at MPI CEC, was awarded the Eduard Rhein Foundation Culture Prize. The €10,000 prize is awarded to Prof. Schlögl "for his outstanding scientific achievements and his exceptional expertise in communicating scientific findings to the broader public as well as into the policy arena".

The statement of the jury states that, „Robert Schlögl is not only an outstanding scientist with a worldwide reputation far beyond the borders of his respective discipline; he is also an excellent communicator of scientific themes – Schlögl is, so to speak, a true "ambassador of science"." (Source: Eduard-Rhein-Stiftung)
The jury hopes that the award will highlight the importance of public science communication and believes that Robert Schlögl is a role model for many other scientists with regard to social responsibility, because interaction and discussion with the general public is of enormous importance.

> more about: Press Release MPI CEC, 15.11.2019

04.-05.11.2019Joint Symposium "Nanomaterials for Energy Applications"

Together with CENIDE and the University of Tsukuba, CRC/TRR 247 is organizing the joint symposium on "Nanomaterials for Energy Applications" at NETZ in Duisburg.

More information can be found here.


16.10.2019Meeting on "Perovskites in Catalysis"

On 16th of October, we will review the current stage of research on perovskites in catalysis.
The meeting will take place in Mülheim at the MPI CEC . The agenda is available here.

© RUB, Kramer

Publication alertScanning electrochemical cell microscopy investigation of single ZIF‐derived nanocomposite particles as electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution in alkaline media

Chemists have developed a new method with which they can characterise individual noble-metal-free nanoparticle catalysts. The particles could be a cheap alternative to precious metal catalysts for obtaining hydrogen from water by means of electrolysis.
So far, there are few techniques available to measure the catalytic activity of individual or a few nanoparticles. “The currents that have to be measured are extremely small, and one has to find single or few nanoparticles in order to measure them reproducibly,” explains Prof. Wolfgang Schuhmann. The research team showed that such analyses are also possible with high throughput – namely with scanning electrochemical cell microscopy.

Original publication
Tarnev, T., Aiyappa, H.B., Botz, A., Erichsen, T., Ernst, A., Andronescu, C., Schuhmann, W.: Scanning electrochemical cell microscopy investigation of single ZIF‐derived nanocomposite particles as electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution in alkaline media, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2019, 58, 14265-14269, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201908021

> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 04.10.2019

30.09.-02.10.2019Autumn School 2019 on “Leadership and Career“

The autumn school is organised by CRC/TRR 247 and CRC 1093.
There will be a keynote speech of Dr. Gaby Schilling about „Leadership and Diversity – the Key to  Excellence“, several workshops and individual coachings about leadership, project management and career planning.

The programme is available here.

27.09.2019Twitter: SEC lab MPI CEC


26./27.09.2019Annual CRC/TRR 247 workshop at RUB

Our annual workshop will take place at the Ruhr-University Bochum on 26th/27th of September.

More information can be found here.

02.-04.09.20191. PhD Retreat

The first UnOCat retreat will take place at Kinder- und Jugendcamp Haard e.V., Haardgrenzweg 200, Oer-Erkenschwick and will start on September 2nd in the afternoon and ends on September 4th after breakfast.

© International Centre for Theoretical Physics

NATURE CAREER FEATUREMeeting the challenges of research across Africa

Dr. Stéphane Kenmoe, computational chemist at the University of Duisburg-Essen, talks about career implications of developing his research in Cameroon. His goal is "is to build an army of science champions — not just researchers but also journalists, actors and athletes — who will promote science wherever possible."

> more about: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02311-2

> more about: Introducing ... Dr. Stéphane Kenmoe

Publication alertPerspective of surfactant-free colloidal nanoparticles in heterogeneous catalysis

Due to material gaps and synthesis-related cross-correlations in heterogeneous catalysis, chemists and physicists are constantly motivated to develop novel catalyst preparation methods for independent control of morphology, size, and composition. Within this article, advances, opportunities, and the current limits of laser-based catalyst preparation technique, as well as synergies with conventional methods will be reviewed in terms of purity, particle size, morphology, composition, and nanoparticle-support interaction. It will be shown, that the surfactant-free particles represent ideal model materials to validate kinetic models and conduct parametric activity-studies by independent adjustment of functional properties like nanoparticle size, composition, and load. Consequently, the importance of transient plasma dynamics tailoring nanoparticle formation will be pointed out, comparing experimental studies with own calculations and novel simulations taken from literature. Finally, perspectives of surfactant-free colloidal nanoparticles for unrevealing active sites in heterogeneous catalysts are presented.

Original publication
Reichenberger, S., Marzun, G., Barcikowski, S., Muhler, M.: Perspective of surfactant‐free colloidal nanoparticles in heterogeneous catalysis, ChemCatChem 2019, https://doi.org/10.1002/cctc.201900666

© RUB, Kramer

Publication alertHigh reaction rates even without precious metals

Non-precious metal nanoparticles could one day replace expensive catalysts for hydrogen production. However, it is often difficult to determine what reaction rates they can achieve, especially when it comes to oxide particles. This is because the particles must be attached to the electrode using a binder and conductive additives, which distort the results.
With the aid of electrochemical analyses of individual particles, researchers have now succeeded in determining the activity and substance conversion of nanocatalysts made from cobalt iron oxide – without any binders.

> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 19.06.2019


Publication alertIntrinsic Activity of Oxygen Evolution Catalysts Probed at Single CoFe2O4 Nanoparticles

Identifying the intrinsic electrocatalytic activity of nanomaterials is challenging, as their characterization usually requires additives and binders whose contributions are difficult to dissect. Herein, we use nano impact electrochemistry as an additive-free method to overcome this problem. Due to the efficient mass transport at individual catalyst nanoparticles, high current densities can be realized. High-resolution bright-field transmission electron microscopy and selected area diffraction studies of the catalyst particles before and after the experiments provide valuable insights in the transformation of the nanomaterials during harsh oxygen evolution reaction (OER) conditions. We demonstrate this for 4 nm sized CoFe2O4 spinel nanoparticles. It is revealed that these particles retain their size and crystal structure even after OER at current densities as high as several kA·m–2. The steady-state current scales with the particle size distribution and is limited by the diffusion of produced oxygen away from the particle. This versatilely applicable method provides new insights into intrinsic nanocatalyst activities, which is key to the efficient development of improved and precious metal-free catalysts for renewable energy technologies.

Original publication
El Arrassi, A., Liu, Z., Evers, M.V., Blanc,N., Bendt, G., Saddeler, S., Tetzlaff, D., Pohl, D., Damm, C., Schulz, S., Tschulik, K.: Intrinsic Activity of Oxygen Evolution Catalysts Probed at Single CoFe2O4 Nanoparticles, Journal of the American Chemical Society 2019, https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.9b04516

Photo of Wolfgang Schuhmann, Professor at Ruhr-Universität Bochum
RUB, Kramer

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuhmann honored for his research Giulio Milazzo Prize of BES

The Bioelectrochemical Society (BES) honored the research work of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuhmann, Ruhr-University Bochum, with the Giulio Milazzo Price at the biannual BES Symposium 2019 in Limerick, Ireland, where he gave the "Giulio Milazzo Prize" lecture.

Publication alertSelective 2‑Propanol Oxidation over Unsupported Co3O4 Spinel Nanoparticles: Mechanistic Insights into Aerobic Oxidation of Alcohols

Crystalline Co3O4 nanoparticles with a uniform size of 9 nm as shown by XRD and TEM were synthesized by thermal decomposition of cobalt acetylacetonate in oleylamine and applied in the oxidation of 2-propanol after calcination. The catalytic properties were derived under continuous flow conditions as a function of temperature up to 573 K in a fixed-bed reactor at atmospheric pressure. Temperature-programmed oxidation, desorption (TPD), surface reaction (TPSR), and 2-propanol decomposition experiments were performed to study the interaction of 2-propanol and O2 with the exposed spinel surfaces. Co3O4 selectively catalyzes the oxidative dehydrogenation of 2-propanol, yielding acetone and H2O and only to a minor extent the total oxidation to CO2 and H2O at higher temperatures. The high catalytic activity of Co3O4 reaching nearly full conversion with 100% selectivity to acetone at 430 K is attributed to the high amount of active Co3+ species at the catalyst surface as well as surface-bound reactive oxygen species observed in the O2 TPD, 2-propanol TPD, TPSR, and 2-propanol decomposition experiments. Density functional theory calculations with a Hubbard U term support the identification of the 5-fold-coordinated octahedral surface Co5c3+ as the active site, and oxidative dehydrogenation involving adsorbed atomic oxygen was found to be the energetically most favored pathway. The consumption of surface oxygen and reduction of Co3+ to Co2+ during 2-propanol oxidation derived from X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements before and after reaction and poisoning by strongly bound carbonaceous species result in the loss of the low-temperature activity, while the high-temperature reaction pathway remained unaffected.

Original publication
Anke, S., Bendt, G., Sinev, I., Hajiyani, H., Antoni, H., Zegkinoglou, I., Jeon, H., Pentcheva, R., Roldan Cuenya, B., Schulz, S., Muhler, M.: Selective 2‑Propanol Oxidation over Unsupported Co3O4 Spinel Nanoparticles: Mechanistic Insights into Aerobic Oxidation of Alcohols, ACS Catalysis 2019, 9, 5974-5985.

RUB, Marquard

Publication alertLife cycle of tiny catalyst particles observed

Individual nanoparticles are very difficult to investigate, because they are extremely small. But that is the goal of the scientists to later be able to customise their properties. The new approach: 'particle at a stick'.

> more about: Press Release idw, 03.05.2019
> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 03.05.2019

Original publication
Harshitha Barike Aiyappa, Patrick Wilde, Thomas Quast, Justus Masa, Corina Andronescu, Yen-Ting Chen, Martin Muhler, Roland A. Fischer, Wolfgang Schuhmann: Oxygen evolution electrocatalysis of a single MOF‐derived composite nanoparticle on the tip of a nanoelectrode, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2019, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201903283

International Bunsen-Discussion-Meeting 2019, Taormina, ItalyPoster award for Hamidreza Hajiyani

Dr. Hamidreza Hajiyani won the poster award at the International Bunsen-Discussion-Meeting "Fundamentals and Applications of (Photo)Electrolysis for Efficient Energy Storage" (01.-05.04.2019, Taormina , Italy) for his contribution "Why Tin-doping enhances the efficiency of Hematite photoanodes for water splitting".

The publication has also been selected as the cover page of Advanced Functional Materials.

Photo of Wolfgang Schuhmann, Professor at Ruhr-Universität Bochum
RUB, Kramer

Catalysts for controlled cascade reactions ERC Advanced Grant

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuhmann received an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant to study the conversion of harmful gases into useful basic chemicals on an industrial scale. For this purpose, he is getting 2.5 Mio. € for the next 5 years.

> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 28.03.2019

Logo of Ruhr-University Bochum

07.03.2019First UnOCat Assembly

Our first assembly of the CRC/TRR 247 graduate school UnOCat "Understanding Oxidation Catalysis" took place at the RUB on 7th of March.
Doctoral researchers in CRC/TRR 247 discussed their work and elected Anna Rabe as their PhD representative as well as Steven Angel as her deputy.

Publication alertSpray‐Flame‐Synthesized LaCo1−xFexO3 Perovskite Nanoparticles as Electrocatalysts for Water and Ethanol Oxidation

Spray-flame synthesized LaCo1-xFexO3 perovskites show promising electrocatalytic activity towards the oxygen evolution reaction and ethanol electrooxidation. The selectivity of the ethanol oxidation reaction is influenced by the Fe content, with acetic aldehyde being detected on Fe rich perovskites while acetate is generated on the Fe free catalysts up to potentials of 1.7 V vs. RHE.

> One of the three winners of the „CENIDE Best Paper Award“ 2019 (Press Release 14.11.2019)

Original publication
Alkan, B., Cychy, S., Varhade, S., Muhler, M., Schulz, C., Schuhmann, W., Wiggers, H., Andronescu, C.: Spray‐Flame‐Synthesized LaCo1−xFexO3 Perovskite Nanoparticles as Electrocatalysts for Water and Ethanol Oxidation, ChemElectroChem 2019, 6, 1-10.


11.02.2019EMPOWER dinner for female early career scientists

On 11th of February, the international day of women and girls in science, young female scientists of CRC/TRR 247 met in Essen for an informal networking event. Together, they discussed the CRC/TRR 247 support of female scientists in their academic qualifications and career developments.

Publication alertSynergistic effects of Mo2C‐NC@FexCoy core‐shell nanoparticles in electrocatalytic overall water splitting reaction

The scientists report on the synthesis of bimetallic CoxFey alloy nanoparticles encapsulated in an N‐doped graphene shell containing molybdenum carbide (Mo2C) nanoparticles, which are obtained by the pyrolysis of cobalt ferrite CoxFe3‐xO4 nanoparticles coated by molybdic acid‐cross‐linked melamine‐formaldehyde (MF) resin. Molybdic acid not only serves as precursor for the formation of highly dispersed Mo2C nanoparticles in the N‐doped graphene shell but also enhances the thermal stability of the organic shell, resulting in the formation of smaller CoxFey cores. The formation of Mo2C nanoparticles in the graphene shell is promoted by the cobalt ferrite core. Interestingly, the synergistic presence of Mo2C nanoparticles not only enhances the HER activity of the material, but also renders a partial breakage of the graphene shell which increases the surface concentration of OER active Co and therefore enhances the OER activity. The as‐prepared TMs‐based materials serve as bi‐functional catalysts for the overall water splitting and exhibit improved electrocatalytic performances compared to standard cells based on precious metals, with potentials of 1.53 V and 1.60 V at 10 mA cm‐2 and 20 mA cm‐2, respectively.

Original publication
Wang, S., Bendt, G., Saddeler, S., Schulz, S.: Synergistic Effects of Mo2C‐NC@CoxFey Core–Shell Nanoparticles in Electrocatalytic Overall Water Splitting Reaction, Energy Technology 2019, 7, DOI: 10.1002/ente.201801121.

Photo of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kleist

New CRC/TRR 247 projectProf. Dr. Wolfgang Kleist joins CRC/TRR 247

The new project C6 "Metal‐organic frameworks as molecularly defined single‐site catalysts and precursor species for bimetallic Co/Fe materials in liquid phase oxidation reactions" aims at the development of single‐site catalysts based on metal‐organic frameworks (MOFs) containing well‐defined Co and Fe species in their framework structures.

Greeting card with christmas tree made of a microcrystalline diamond layer on silicon

Happy HolidaysChristmas greetings

Greetings of the season and our best wishes for a prosperous New Year 2019!

Photo of Malte Behrens, Professor at University Duisburg-Essen

UA RuhrJoint platform for catalysis research

Prof. Dr. Malte Behrens will continue his work in teaching and research with a UA Ruhr professorship in "Materials Chemistry of Catalysts" at the faculty of chemistry, University Duisburg-Essen and at the faculty of chemistry and biochemistry, Ruhr-University Bochum.

> more about: Press Release idw, 14.12.2018
> more about: Press Release CENIDE, 17.12.2018

Successful start in DuisburgKick-off meeting

In total 74 scientists, including project leaders, but also young researchers, participated in our kick-off meeting in Duisburg on 4th/5th of December 2018.

> more about: Press Release CENIDE, 17.12.2018

Materials Research SocietyBest Poster Award for Steven Angel

Steven Angel, PhD candidate in project C2, received the Best Poster Award at the "Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing for Sustainability Symposium" at the Materials Research Society conference in Boston in November 2018.

His poster entitled „Spray-flame synthesis of nanosized LaMO3 (M = Fe, Co) perovskites for CO oxidation” is presenting results of his work with two solvents (Ethanol and 2-Ethylhexanoic acid) and their influence on spray-flame synthesis of the perovskites LaFeO3 and LaCoO3.

Publication alertCobalt metalloid and polybenzoxazine derived composites for bifunctional oxygen electrocatalysis

The development of bifunctional oxygen electrodes is a key factor for the envisaged application of rechargeable metal-air batteries. In this work, we present a simple procedure based on pyrolysis of polybenzoxazine/metal metalloid nanoparticles composites into efficient bifunctional oxygen reduction and oxygen evolution electrocatalysts. This procedure generates nitrogen-doped carbon with embedded metal metalloid nanoparticles exhibiting high activity towards both, oxygen reduction and oxygen evolution, in 0.1 M KOH with a roundtrip voltage of as low as 0.81 V. Koutecký-Levich analysis coupled with scanning electrochemical microscopy reveals that oxygen is preferentially reduced in a 4e transfer pathway to hydroxide rather than to hydrogen peroxide. Furthermore, the polybenzoxazine derived carbon matrix allows for stable catalyst fixation on the electrode surface, resulting in unattenuated activity during continuous alternate polarisation between oxygen evolution at 10 mA cm−2 and oxygen reduction at −1.0 mA cm−2.

Original publication
Barwe, S., Andronescu, C., Engels, R., Conzuelo, F., Seisel, S., Wilde, P., Chen, Y.T., Masa, J., Schuhmann, W.: Cobalt metalloid and polybenzoxazine derived composites for bifunctional oxygen electrocatalysis, Electrochimica Acta 297, 1042-1051.

Publication alertSurface Termination and Composition Control of Activity of the CoxNi1−xFe2O4(001) Surface for Water Oxidation: Insights from DFT+U Calculations

Using density functional theory calculations with an on-site Hubbard term (DFT+U), we explore the effect of surface termination and cation substitution on the performance of the CoxNi1–xFe2O4(001) surface (x = 0.0, 0.5, 1.0) as an anode material in the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Different reaction sites (Fe, Co, Ni, and an oxygen vacancy) were investigated at three terminations: the B-layer with octahedrally coordinated Co/Ni and with an additional half and full monolayer of Fe (0.5A and A-layer, respectively). Ni substitution with an equal concentration of Co and Ni (x = 0.5) reduces the overpotential over the end members for the majority of reaction sites. Surface Co cations are identified as the active sites and the ones at the A-layer termination for x = 0.5 exhibit one of the lowest theoretically reported overpotentials of 0.26 V. The effect of the additional iron layer on the active site modification is 2-fold: analysis of the electronic properties and spin densities indicates that the additional Fe layer stabilizes a bulk-like oxidation state of +2 for Co and Ni at the A-layer termination, whereas at the B-layer termination, they are oxidized to 3+. Moreover, the unusual relaxation pattern enables the formation of a hydrogen bond of the OOH intermediate to a neighboring surface oxygen that lowers the reaction free energy of this formerly rate-limiting step, leading to a deviation from the scaling relationship and almost equidistant reaction free-energy steps of intermediates. This renders an example of how a selective surface modification can result in a significant improvement of OER performance.

Original publication
Hajiyani, H., Pentcheva, R.: Surface Termination and Composition Control of Activity of the CoxNi1–xFe2O4(001) Surface for Water Oxidation: Insights from DFT+U Calculations, ACS Catalysis 2018, 8 (12), 11773-11782.

Group of four scientists in the laboratory
RUB, Kramer

Publication alertDiscovery of a Multinary Noble Metal–Free Oxygen Reduction Catalyst

Scientists at Ruhr-University Bochum show that noble metal-free catalysts are as active as platinum and provide a base to produce more efficient and less expensive catalysts.

> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 23.10.2018

Original publication
Löffler, T., Meyer, H., Savan, A., Wilde, P., Garzón Manjón, A., Chen, Y.-T., Ventosa, E., Scheu, C., Ludwig, A., Schuhmann, W.: Discovery of a multinary noble metal free oxygen reduction catalyst, Advanced Energy Materials 2018, DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201802269

Photo of Wolfgang Schuhmann, Professor at Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuhmann honored for his research Alessandro Volta Medal

The Electrochemical Society (ECS) honored the fundamental and applied research work of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuhmann, Ruhr-University Bochum. He developed novel biosensors, redox polymers and materials for electrocatalysis and batteries. Congratulations!

> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 05.10.2018

Publication alertWhy Tin‐Doping Enhances the Efficiency of Hematite Photoanodes for Water Splitting—The Full Picture

The beneficial effects of Sn(IV) as a dopant in ultrathin hematite (α‐Fe2O3) photoanodes for water oxidation are examined. Different Sn concentration profiles are prepared by alternating atomic layer deposition of Fe2O3 and SnO x . Combined data from spectrophotometry and intensity‐modulated photocurrent spectroscopy yields the individual process efficiencies for light harvesting, charge separation, and charge transfer. The best performing photoanodes are Sn‐doped both on the surface and in the subsurface region and benefit from enhanced charge separation and transfer. Sn‐doping throughout the bulk of the hematite photoanode causes segregation at the grain boundaries and hence a lower overall efficiency. Fe2O3 (0001) and terminations, shown to be dominant by microstructural analysis, are investigated by density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The energetics of surface intermediates during the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) reveal that while Sn‐doping decreases the overpotential on the (0001) surface, the Fe2O3 orientation shows one of the lowest overpotentials reported for hematite so far. Electronic structure calculations demonstrate that Sn‐doping on the surface also enhances the charge transfer efficiency by elimination of surface hole trap states (passivation) and that subsurface Sn‐doping introduces a gradient of the band edges that reinforces the band bending at the semiconductor/electrolyte interface and thus boosts charge separation.

Original publication
Hufnagel, A.G., Hajiyani, H., Zhang, S., Li, T., Kasian, O., Gault, B., Breitbach, B., Bein, T., Fattakhova-Rohlfing, D., Scheu, C., Pentcheva, R.: Why Tin‐Doping Enhances the Efficiency of Hematite Photoanodes for Water Splitting—The Full Picture, Advanced Functional Materials 2018, 28 (52), 1804472.

Publication alertMechanism of Laser-Induced Bulk and Surface Defect Generation in ZnO and TiO2 Nanoparticles: Effect on Photoelectrochemical Performance

Laser processing of neat and gold-nanoparticle-functionalized ZnO and TiO2 nanoparticles by nanosecond–355 nm or picosecond–532 nm light enabled control of photocurrent generation under simulated sunlight irradiation in neutral aqueous electrolytes. We obtained more than 2-fold enhanced photoelectrochemical performance of TiO2 nanoparticles upon irradiation by picosecond–532 nm pulses that healed defects. Laser processing and gold nanoparticle functionalization of ZnO and TiO2 nanomaterials resulted in color changes that did not originate from optical bandgaps or crystal structures. Two-dimensional photoluminescence data allowed us to differentiate and quantify surface and bulk defects that play a critical yet oft-underappreciated role for photoelectrochemical performance as sites for detrimental carrier recombination. We developed a detailed mechanistic model of how surface and bulk defects were generated as a function of laser processing parameters and obtained key insights on how these defects affected photocurrent production. The controlled healing of defects by pulsed-laser processing may be useful in the design of solar fuels materials.

Original publication
Lau, M., Reichenberger, S., Haxhiaj, I., Barcikowski, S., Müller, A.M.: Mechanism of Laser-Induced Bulk and Surface Defect Generation in ZnO and TiO2 Nanoparticles: Effect on Photoelectrochemical Performance, ACS Applied Energy Materials 2018, 1 (10), 5366-5385.

Six scientists of the Ruhr-University Bochum in the laboratory

Publication alertNew catalyst with dual function

Scientists at Ruhr-University Bochum developed a new economical catalysts for a more sustainable plastics production.

> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 24.07.2018

Original publication
Barwe, S., Weidner, J., Cychy, S., Morales, D.M., Dieckhöfer, S., Hiltrop, D., Masa, J., Muhler, M., Schuhmann, W.: Electrocatalytic 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural oxidation using high surface area nickel boride, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2018, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201806298.

Professor Kristina Tschulik smiling in the camera

Prof. Dr. Kristina Tschulik honored for her research Hellmuth Fischer Medal

DECHEMA awarded the Hellmuth Fischer Medal to Prof. Dr. Kristina Tschulik, Ruhr-University Bochum, for her fundamental research of electrochemical processes on nanoparticles.

> more about: Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 15.06.2018


Heterogeneous Oxidation Catalysis in the Liquid PhaseNew Collaborative Research Centre / Transregio

The new research network, funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation), started its work in July 2018 and will combine catalysis research and nanotechnology. The University of Duisburg-Essen, the Ruhr University Bochum, the MPI für Kohlenforschung, the MPI CEC and the Fritz Haber Institute will work together to accumulate fundamental knowledge and "achieve great things together" (Prof. Dr. Malte Behrens, spokesperson of CRC/TRR 247).

> More detailed information can be found in the press releases:
Press Release DFG, No. 17, 18.05.2018
Press Release University of Duisburg-Essen, 18.05.2018
Press Release Ruhr-University Bochum, 18.05.2018
Press Release MPI CEC, 24.05.2018
Press Release MPI für Kohlenforschung, 03.07.2018
Press Release University of Duisburg-Essen, 28.03.2017