Dr. Hanna Türk is awarded the prestigious Otto Hahn Medal

June 13, 2024

The Fritz Haber Institute is pleased to announce that Dr. Hanna Türk has been awarded the Otto Hahn Medal for her ground-breaking work elucidating the atomic-scale degradation mechanism of working interfaces in solid oxide electrolyzers.

Since 1978, the Max Planck Society has awarded the Otto Hahn Medal annually to young researchers for their outstanding scientific achievements, mostly connected to their doctorates. Besides the prestige conferred by the medal, it is also endowed with 7,500 euros of prize money to motivate the awardees to pursue a university career.

This year, among the selected awardees, is Dr. Hanna Türk who performed her PhD research in the Theory Department of the Fritz Haber Institute. Dr. Türk graduated at the end of 2022 with a thesis entitled: “Active Site Generation and Deactivation of the Air Electrode in High Temperature Solid Oxide Cells” and receives the Otto Hahn Medal for her ground-breaking work elucidating the atomic-scale degradation mechanism of working interfaces in solid oxide electrolysers.

Dr. Türk's dissertation is based on the understanding that the broad commercial adoption of highly efficient solid oxide cell-based energy storage systems is presently limited due to the degradation of electrodes. This gap in knowledge prevents a thorough comprehension of the degradation mechanism, which is essential for developing targeted strategies for mitigation and prevention. In her study, Dr. Türk revealed the fundamental structure of the triple phase boundary and its complex behavior at the solid/solid interface through physics-based simulations. These simulations have identified a novel deactivation pathway involving cation segregation through the interface. Her findings were supported by experimental evidence, analyzed with the help of a new, robust workflow designed to detect subtle changes in concentration in electron microscope images.

Since April 2023, Dr. Türk has been working at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in the COSMO Lab headed by Prof. Michele Ceriotti. Her stay at the EPFL is supported by the prestigious Walter Benjamin Fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which enables postdoctoral researchers to conduct independent research at a location of their choice. She chose to continue working on energy materials, and is now using machine learning based models to study the reaction of solid electrolyte materials with water.

Dr. Türk says: “Fundamental understanding of atomic processes is essential for the strategic development of energy materials. I am honored that my work on this topic is being recognized by the Max Planck Society.”

The Fritz Haber Institute and especially the Theory Department celebrates Dr. Türk´s award and eagerly anticipates her contributions to the scientific community.



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