Doctorate for Clara Rettenmaier

June 08, 2023

Today, Clara Rettenmaier defended her doctoral thesis at TU Berlin. She carried out research on In situ and Operando Electrocatalysis: Shape-dependent Nanocatalysts for the CO2 Reduction and the Formic Acid Oxidation.

Ms. Rettenmaier made several outstanding contributions to the basic understanding of the electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction Reaction (CO2RR) and the Formic Acid Oxidation Reaction (FAOR). She opened up pathways to improve electrocatalytic processes with unconventional operating conditions. She mastered to apply UHV surface science and various non-standard synchrotron techniques.

For copper single crystals [Cu(310)], Ms. Rettenmaier was able to provide first insights on the morphological and structural instability of the Cu(310) surface during CO2RR. She showed, that the Cu(310) surface as prepared, i.e. atomically ordered and clean, under UHV conditions is in fact not suitable for the production of hydrocarbons or alcohols such as ethanol.

Ms. Rettenmaier used potential pulses for obtaining the Ethanol Faradaic efficiency during CO2RR. She could show that the combination of anodic (oxidizing) and cathodic (catalytic) potential pulses allow to double the Ethanol Faradaic efficiency. In addition, her work demonstrated a correlation between a suppressed ethylene and increased methane formation under pulse reaction conditions leading to a strong and irreversible bulk-like Cu2O formation.

Last but not least, she presented her third project which aimed at an improved understanding of how Gold nanoparticle decoration influences the active state formation of Cu2O nanocubes and determines the catalytic function.

Mrs. Rettenmaier (ORCID) was able to publish 25 peer-reviewed articles, two of them as first author, in high impact journals such as Nature Catalysis and ACS Catalysis and two more first author publication are currently in preparation.

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