The European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant has been awarded to the Group Leader of the “Cold and ultracold molecules” research group at the Department for Molecular Physics. The Grant provides an endowment of €1.9 million over a period of five years. more

Remembering Horst Conrad

July 06, 2020

The Physicist Horst Günther Conrad, who worked at the Surface Physics and Molecular Physics Departments for more than 30 years, sadly passed away in March this year. The FHI will miss a patient scientist and educator. more

An international team for the first time observed the formation of a metallic conduction band in electrolytes using photoelectron spectroscopy. This allowed a deeper insight into the behaviour of electrolytes and so-called dissolved or solvated electrons, which play an important role in a large number of large-scale industrial chemical processes. The work is published in Science. more

Bernd Winter, who leads the Liquid Microjet project in the Molecular Physics Department, has been awarded an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) endowed with €2.5 million over a period of five years. more

The chemist Prof. Dr. Kevin Pagel has been awarded a highly endowed Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). Pagel is a professor of bioorganic chemistry at Freie Universität Berlin and a visiting researcher at the Fritz Haber Institute. more

Researchers from the Fritz-Haber Institute of the Max-Planck Society in Berlin identified aluminum monofluoride (AlF) as an excellent molecule to be laser-cooled to ultra-low temperatures with a high density. Atoms have been laser-cooled with great success for over 30 years. Recently, this powerful technique has been extended to small molecules, but a major challenge remains: to increase the density of the laser-cooled molecular gas by many orders of magnitude. AlF has the potential to achieve this, and recent developments in laser technology now make it possible to use this molecule. AlF is stable and deeply-bound with unique properties, enabling cooling to very low temperatures and with a high density. more

We propose a novel direct detection concept to search for dark matter with masses in the 100 keV to 100 MeV range, in which the dark matter particles scatter off molecules in a gas and excite a vibrational and rotational state of the molecule. The excited ro-vibrational mode relaxes rapidly and produces a spectacular signal consisting of multiple infrared photons, which can be observed with ultrasensitive photodetectors.

Characterizing the electronic structure of the titanium dioxide–aqueous interface is crucial for enhancing H2 fuel production efficiency in photoelectrochemical cells. Despite intense research on the nature of water interaction, it remains unclear whether water adsorbs dissociatively, associatively, or mixes at the TiO2 surface. Using liquid-jet photoelectron spectroscopy, we can access the electronic structure of the TiO2 nanoparticle–aqueous interface. One crucial aspect here is that the nanoparticles are fully dispersed in an aqueous solution, which allows aqueous ions to diffuse freely from the interface into the bulk solution. Our system thus mimics the conditions within photoelectrochemical cells. By measuring core-level photoelectron as well as resonant photoemission spectra at the oxygen 1s edge, we find that in acidic aqueous solutions, water adsorbs molecularly at the Ti sites. In contrast, water interacts dissociative at slightly basic pH. Variation of pH thus provides a means to control this interaction and amount of produced H2 fuel production.  more

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