UROP Project

Ionic Liquid Force Profiles as Function of Applied Potential and Concentration and their influence on tribological properties



Jan Müller

Program Director UROP


+49 241 80-90299


Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
UROP International
Organisation unit:
Institute of Physical Chemistry, Institute of Energy and Climate Research
Language Skills:
English, German is helpful for your stay
This project takes place at the research centre Jülich and requires a daily commute.


Measure 2: Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA)

Ionic liquids are an interesting class of liquids as they are pure salts and do not contain any solvent. It is well known and observed by various techniques that ionic liquids adjacent to electrified surfaces form distinct interfacial layers following an oscillatory force profile. By changing the applied load tribological properties of the film can be influenced. However, a recent theoretical study has shown transitions between an oscillatory behaviour and a monotonic behaviour as function of charge and concentration. The data had been verified by Surface Force Balance experiments. In this project we want to study similar systems by using an Atomic Force Microscope. This approach allows to use different substrates in order ot verify the generic character of the theoretical findings. Additionally, influences on the tribological performance of the systems will be studied.


The succesful candidate is responsible to carry out Atomic Force Microscopy Experiments under controlled conditions. These conditions include a glove box environment, electrochemical cells as well as different ionic liquids. It is the task of the succesful candidate to (i) prepare the electrochemical cells inside the glove box, (ii) decide which ionic liquids will be used in the study and (iii) perform and analyse the atomic force microscopy measurements and data.


The succesful candidate has previous experience in a surface science laboratory equipped with atomic force microscopies and knows how to use such an instrument. Knowledge of AFM related software is mandatory. Additionally, an understanding of tribological processes, ideally on very small scales and in liquids is required. Working with chemicals including a safety training is precondition. A basic electrochemical understanding, e.g. from corrosion science, is a strong asset.