Key Info

Basic Information

Prof. Dr. Rainer Waser
Faculty / Institution:
Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
Excellent Science
Project duration:
01.06.2018 to 30.11.2020
EU contribution:
214.828,20 euros
  EU flag This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 796142.  


SurfacE structure-Activity-Relationship in atomically-defined, ultrathin film perovskite Catalysts


Due to the intermittency of renewable electricity, conversion to chemical fuel is a necessity for the success of the transition to sustainable energy. A simple and attractive candidate for climate-neutral fuel is hydrogen, which can be produced directly through electrolysis. But substantial market penetration by commercial electrolysers has been hindered by the absence of high-activity, stable, inexpensive, and earth-abundant, catalytic materials. To develop and exploit these materials, a detailed understanding of the underlying relationships between catalytic activity and atomic-level surface structure is required, which has so far been unattainable due to often-case undefined surface areas and structures, as is the case for today’s record-performance electrocatalysts, i.e. Ni-Fe (oxy)(hydr)oxides. Therefore, epitaxial, atomically defined Ni-Fe-based perovskite thin film catalysts will be investigated with advanced operando characterization tools (including synchrotron-based scattering and spectroscopy, and scanning probe approaches) to achieve the following objectives:

- Revalidate activity trends found for polycrystalline and amorphous structures, disseminating the influence from the bulk electronic structure (composition), bond lengths, crystallographic orientation and surface termination
- Derive an atomistic understanding of the catalysis reaction and degradation mechanisms
- Deduce design rules for beyond-state-of-the-art electrocatalyst materials and communicate them to the catalyst research and production communities for exploitation in “real-world” catalyst materials


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