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Electrocatalysis under the atomic force microscope

A further development in atomic force microscopy now makes it possible to simultaneously image the height profile of nanometre-fine structures as well as the electric current and the frictional force at solid-liquid interfaces. A team from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the Fritz Haber Institute (FHI) of the Max Planck Society has succeeded in analysing electrocatalytically active materials and gaining insights that will help optimise catalysts. The method is also potentially suitable for studying processes on battery electrodes, in photocatalysis or on active biomaterials. more

The Positive Outlooks of Studying Negatively-Charged Chiral Molecules

The ability to distinguish two chiral enantiomers is an essential analytical capability for chemical industries including pharmaceutical companies, flavor/odor engineering and forensic science. A new wave of chiral optical methods have shown significant improvements in chiral sensitivity, compared to their predecessors, leading to potential analytical advantages for chiral discrimination. Researchers at the Fritz Haber Institute have integrated one of these modern methods with the study of gas-phase anions, which enable mass-selection and the use of a simple table-top laser for observation of the chiral effect. Thus, taking another step closer to realizing a robust analytical tool capable of chiral discrimination of dilute and complex, chiral mixtures. more

Discovery to lower CO<sub>2</sub> Emissions in the Industrial Sector by using Green Synthesis<br /> 

Achieving a net zero greenhouse gas balance is a major challenge facing the chemical industry. The goal can be met by reducing the energy demand of chemical processes and the sustainable use of raw materials. Researchers of the Fritz-Haber-Institute have shown that the valuable intermediates propylene and propylene oxide can be formed directly by oxidation of propane in the gas phase over nonspecific interfaces, such as sea sand, without producing significant amounts of CO2.

When machines just get it right: <br />Atomic-scale insights into defect-free growth of graphene

High-level synchrotron experiments confirm the sub-atomic precision of a machine-learning based prediction for the adsorption height of graphene at liquid metal catalysts. With such reliability, the AI-approach constitutes a powerful new tool to study the growth process of this much aspired material even under most extreme conditions.

German Federal Minister of Education and Research in Berlin-Adlershof

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, visited the Catalysis Laboratory (CatLab) in Berlin-Adlershof. CatLab is a research platform for catalysis research supported by the Fritz Haber Institute of the MPG, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and the Helmholtz Center Berlin. The aim of the joint project is to develop important innovations that will contribute to the realization of a green hydrogen economy. During her visit to the CatLab, the minister gained insight into the latest technological developments for the production and characterization of thin-film catalysts as well as special methods for operando analytics and digital catalysis.

Imaging coherent lattice vibrations on the nanoscale

Coherent phonons - collective, in-phase vibrational excitations in a crystal lattice – can provide detailed insight into microscopic interactions in solids under nonequilibrium conditions, e.g. after ultrafast photoexcitation. A new approach based on femtosecond laser-excited scanning tunneling microscopy enables now to measure coherent phonon spectroscopy with few nanometer spatial resolution. This allows to better understand the influence of single defects and local lattice distortions on microscopic processes, e.g., in low-dimensional quantum materials and nanostructures. more

New Understanding of Water Electrolysis

Water electrolysis is a key technology to establish CO2-neutral hydrogen production. One of the key technological hurdles is the design of stable, active and affordable catalysts for the anodic oxygen evolution reaction (OER), which is one bottleneck of the hydrogen production process. Researchers from the Interface Science Department have now provided quantitative near-surface structural insights into oxygen-evolving CoOx(OH)y nanoparticles which are published in Nature Energy today. more

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