Functional Materials Group


Renewable energy conversion and storage are relevant topics in applied research today, since the use of non-fossil energy sources is essential for the reduction of CO2 emissions. Solar and wind energy harvesting combined with chemical energy storage in batteries or fuels like hydrogen are essential processes, which need to be improved in efficiency, long-term stability and scalability. Our goal is to contribute to the development of cost effective scalable solutions for energy conversion and storage.

Latest Publications

Modified H2V3O8 to Enhance the Electrochemical Performance for Li‐ion Insertion: The Influence of Prelithiation and Mo‐Substitution

V sites in H2V3O8 were substituted by Mo. The needle-shaped nanostructure was preserved combining a soft chemical synthesis approach with a hydrothermall process. Together with chemical prelithiation this modification lead to 40 % capacity increase (312 mAh g-1) and to improved stability with respect to H2V3O8.



Scaling Up Electrodes For Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

A scalable fabrication process for particle-based electrodes for solar water splitting was developed. Demonstrator-size photoanodes exhibited complex performance changes related to electrode size. Scale-up of photoelectrochemically active electrodes needs careful consideration in terms of size and device geometry.

Local photocurrent density



New device characterization methods installed and operational!

in-operando XRD                                                                            Faraday efficiency measurement Set-up

in-operando XRDFaraday efficiency measurement Set-up






Infrastructure project BioMat TEM was granted!

The functional materials group is proud of being part of the project team BioMat-TEM. The aim of this project is the upgrade of the local transmission electron microscope with a cryo unit and an energy filter (1,9 MEu). It will enable subnanometer imaging and analysis of beam sensitive materials like energy materials or biomaterials.
For more information, click  here and  here.

Showcases for research enabled by the energy filter/cryo upgrade

Oxidation state determination of CoOx cocatalyst nanoparticles with a size of  5-40 nm by core loss EELS. The cocatatalysts are deposited on the photocatalyst LaTiO2N (adapted from Pokrant S.  et al., Materials Today Energy, 5, 2017, 158)


Cryo transmission electron micrograph of extracellular vesicles, scaling bar 100 nm (adapted from Corso G., Meisner-Kober N. et al., Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, 8, 2019,  1663043 )




Breakthrough in solar water splitting

In May, 2020, Simone Pokrant published a comment in the Nature science magazine’s News & Views section with her view on a breakthrough in catalyst design by Takata et al. that might accelerate the development of large-scale processes for producing hydrogen from water using sunlight.
Nature is one of the most quoted science magazines with the highest impact factor in its category.
Her article can be found  here.
The nature podcast corresponding to the work of Takata et al. is linked  here.


We are pleased that the following students are currently writing their bachelor thesis with us:

  • Huber, Andreas            Conductive networks for battery electrodes
  • Klammer, Peter            Fabrication of photoanodes by scaleable processes

We are pleased that the following students are currently writing their master thesis with us:

  • Darge, Philipp              Exploring ion insertion mechanisms by in-situ XRD
  • Wendlinger, Veronika    Faraday efficiencies of photoelectrode
  • Hörndl, Julian               Morphology and photocatalytic properties of oxynitride particles