Institute of Methods for Material Development

A complete characterization of the molecular - electronic and nuclear -  structure of matter is a prerequisite for an understanding of the nature of bonding interactions and chemical reactivity. With experimental tools that reveal such information and supporting calculations, we can quantify the charge and energy transfer processes associated with chemical change. Moreover, such information can be directly applied to systematically engineer molecular structure and yield desirable material properties.

Our research focuses on two main themes:

  1. The characterisation of the electronic and nuclear structure of novel materials that can be used, for instance, in the catalytic transformation of water in an energy-efficient device for the production of solar fuel.

  2. The development of methods to probe the dynamic electronic and nuclear structure of molecules or materials undergoing physical/chemical changes and energy transfer processes on a few-femtosecond to microsecond timescale. Such spectroscopy measurements span the THz, IR, Vis., UV, EUV and soft X-ray spectral ranges within our research institute.

Molecular Systems: In developing novel materials and optimizing their energy conversion performance, we investigate various model systems - going from atomic species via larger organic (bio) molecules and nanoparticles to solid samples. Our group has a particularly strong interest in aqueous systems – this being a natural condition within a photo- or electrochemical cell, for instance in a water-splitting process – although we also characterize dry samples. Size-ordered studied systems include atomic ions (particularly transition metal ions) and small organic and inorganic molecules in aqueous solution, porphyrines (aq.), diamond and transition-metal nanoparticles (aq.), and novel, functional solid materials.

Development of Spectroscopic Methods: There are multiple important aspects that need to be considered when performing photon and electron measurements to study the electronic and nuclear structure of condensed phase materials.