HZB is member of the IGAFA initiative in Adlershof
What are the activities of IGAFA?
Since September 2020, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin is again a member of IGAFA - the Initiative of Non-University Research Institutions in Adlershof. Prof. Dr. Jan Lüning, scientific director of the HZB, was elected to the association's board.
The tasks of IGAFA include the promotion of interdisciplinary cooperation, the promoting of scientific content through publications and events and the care of international guests in two meeting centers (see figure).
In addition, IGAFA sees itself as an interface between research and the public interested in science. For this reason, IGAFA participates, for example, in the Adlershof Dissertation Prize, the Long Night of Sciences, or supervises the Adlershof Ladies Network.
Green hydrogen: How photoelectrochemical water splitting may become competitive
Sunlight can be used to produce green hydrogen directly from water in photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells. So far, systems based on this "direct approach" have not been energetically competitive. However, the balance changes as soon as some of the hydrogen in such PEC cells is used in-situ for a catalytic hydrogenation reaction, resulting in the co-production of chemicals used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The energy payback time of photoelectrochemical "green" hydrogen production can be reduced dramatically, the study shows.
Superstore MXene: New proton hydration structure determined
MXenes are able to store large amounts of electrical energy like batteries and to charge and discharge rather quickly like a supercapacitor. They combine both talents and thus are a very interesting class of materials for energy storage. The material is structured like a kind of puff pastry, with the MXene layers separated by thin water films. A team at HZB has now investigated how protons migrate in the water films confined between the layers of the material and enable charge transport. Their results have been published in the renowned journal Nature Communications and may accelerate the optimisation of these kinds of energy storage materials.
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.