Chemical Physics - Research

Hydrogen and Carbon Dioxide

are key ingredients for the storage of green electricity. We investigate hydrogen evolution from water at metal centers and at innovative catalysts, which will replace the precious platinum in water electrolysis. To obtain liquid fuels from green electricity, hydrogen must be coupled with carbon dioxide to larger molecules light methanol or ethanol. The required reaction steps are investigated in our laboratories.

Atmospheric Chemistry

With the newly acquired instruments in Innsbruck, we investigate reactions of ions and aerosol particles in the atmosphere. As an example, we use electrospray ionization on our APEX Qe FT-ICR mass spectrometer to study the interaction of salt clusters with organic molecules and the aging of aerosols exposed to sun light.

Biomolecules

The home match for ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry: With a mass resolution of more than 1.500.000, even large biomolecules have no chance to hide. We develop laser based methods for the sequencing of biomolecules. We are also interested in the analysis of complex mixtures, where each component can be identified via its absolute mass.

Functional Materials

Self-healing polymers, molecular electronics based on organic molecules – how can this work? On our atomic force microscope, we investigate the mechanical forces acting during material fatigue, i.e. chemical bond breaking. Our partners from organic chemistry synthesize specifically required molecular loops, which we pull apart molecule by molecule.

For molecular electronics, the conductance of organic substances and functional groups is crucial. We measure the conductance on the single molecule level and investigate the influence of a mechanical force on the conductance. Essentially, we develop an electronic force sensor on the basis of a single molecule.