Master thesis: Bridging the gap – Analysing real catalyst layers by using fundamental electrochemical methods

The Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN) is an institute of Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, with a focus on storage technologies for renewable energies. As part of Prof. K. Mayrhofers research unit „Electrocatalysis” the group „Electrochemical Energy Conversion” - led by Dr. Serhiy Cherevko – is mainly working on catalyst evaluation for (photo-) electrochemical water splitting and fuel cells.

Currently, most fundamental catalyst testing for fuel cells is executed in aqueous media, which leads to severe mass transport limitation. Hence, it is not possible to examine those catalysts at relevant current densities or potentials for applications. Therefore we developed a set-up based on gas diffusion electrodes (GDE) which combines the advantages of fundamental research (fast and easy testing, good comparability, low amount of catalysts needed) with the conditions of real applications. During the master thesis, this set-up should be used to establish benchmark cathode catalyst composed of different carbon supports (high vs low surface area) and Platinum nanoparticles. Different electrochemical methods should be applied to shed light on the triple phase interface of the carbon, the Platinum, and the ionomer, facilitating the improvement of advanced catalyst layers for fuel cells. Thus, the experimental work comprises the preparation of catalyst layers (ink-formulation), their electrochemical investigation and their structural characterization (SEM/EDX, contact angle); paving the way for the final application in fuel cells.

We are looking for…

… motivated students with excellent grades in the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, material science or physics, who like to work in international teams. Therefore, besides good scientific basics, appropriate English skills are required. Basic knowledge in electrochemistry is preferable, but not essential.

We offer… 

… an excellent, international and interdisciplinary working environment with leading experts in the fields of research. Flexibility to shape the master thesis’ topic to applicants interests and qualifications.

Are you interested?

Please write a short mail with a CV and your transcript of records attached to:

Pascal Lauf

PhD student

    Building HIERN-Cauerstr /
    Room 4005
    +49 9131-12538180

    Last Modified: 03.11.2022