Research Methods

Instrumental methods available in our group

Sample preparation

Anodization: We use several home-made anodization setups based on computer-controlled power supplies and powerful chillers. The largest sample size achievable is approximately 14 cm x 14 cm. In charge: Marco, Christhy.
Langmuir trough: Kibron MicroTrough G2. In charge: Ignacio.
Atomic layer deposition (ALD): Five ALD reactors in total. One home-made reactor equipped for work with H2S, one custom-made reactor by ModularFlow with a piezoelectric crystal microbalance, and three commercial reactors from Arradiance, one of them with microbalance. In charge: André (‘Snoopy’), Jonas and Negar (‘Cinderella’), Ignacio (‘Rapunzel’), André and Sarah (‘Timon’), Sarah and Negar (‘Mini-Me’).
Sputter coating: DC/HF sputter coater from Torr for Au, Ag, Al, Ti, Ni, Co, ITO, SiO2, and more. In charge: Ignacio, Sofia.
Thermal evaporation: Glovebox-integrated Angström Engineering Covap. In charge: Ryan, Sofia.
Helium leak tester: Pfeiffer ASM 310. In charge: Sebastian.
Gloveboxes: Four gloveboxes in total. Two Innovative Technologies InertLabs, one of them under N2 with integrated spin-coater and thermal evaporator, the other under Ar with integrated freezer and coin cell crimper. One VTI glovebox with integrated ALD reactor (‘Timon’). One wet box for work with hydrogenases and CODHases by SylaTech. In charge: Maïssa (Ar box), Marco (PV box), André (ALD box), Jonas (wet box).
Ovens: Muffle furnace and tube furnace up to 1100°C (Nabertherm). In charge: Ivan.
Autoclave: Designer build by Parr Instruments (96 bar, 700°C). in charge: Sarah.
UV ozone cleaner: Novascan PSD-UV4. In charge: Sofia.
Spin coater: Laurell WS-650Mz-23NPPB. in charge: Ryan.
Solution ALD setups: Several microfluidic setups (1 x 1 cm2 to 5 x 15 cm2), custom built by ZUMOlab and our workshop, one injected microfluidic setup designed by Ivan, and one slot-die setup (10 x 10 cm2), custom built by our engineering colleagues (Brabec group / ZAE Bayern).  In charge: Maïssa, Vanessa, Ivan.
Electrochemistry: We perform galvanic depositions with our two eight-channel Gamry Interface 1000, single-channel Gamry Reference 600, single-channel Ivium CompactStat.e, or one of a variety of power supplies (Keithley, Agilent, Elektro-Automatik). In charge: Michael, Yuanyuan.
Laser cutter: GCC Spirit SLS (for cutting masks and samples accurately). In charge: Michael.
Electrospinning: Fluidnatek LE-10 by Bioinicia. In charge: Jonas.
Atomic-layer additive manufacturing: Prototype by Atlant 3D Nanosystems. In charge: Ivan, Sarah.

Materials characterization

Field-emission scanning electron microscopy (shared with the Mandel group): Jeol JSM-F100 with EDX, low-pressure operation mode, STEM, and sample plasma cleaner. In charge: Dirk, Sebastian.
Scanning electron microscopy: refurbished Jeol JSM 6400 with ion getter pump, LaB6 cathode, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and computer upgrade. In charge: Baolin.
Ion mill: Jeol IB-19530CP for the preparation of sample cross-sections. In charge: Maïssa.
Spectroscopic ellipsometry: SENpro by Sentech and DRE EL X-02 P Spec from Dr. Riss Ellipsometerbau. In charge: Vanessa.
Imaging ellipsometry: SIMoN by Accurion, with four different objectives and six individual wavelengths. In charge: Ivan, Sonja.
X-ray diffractometer and reflectometer: Bruker D8 Advance equipped with Lynxeye XE-T detector, capable of reflectometry and XRD in grazing incidence. In charge: Sebastian & Dirk.

Functional investigation

Electrochemical potentiostats: We can perform all types of analytical electrochemical work including impedance spectroscopy with the following instruments: two eight-channel Gamry Interface 1000 and 1010 E, single-channel Gamry Reference 600, single-channel Ivium CompactStat.e. In charge: Michael.
Battery testing: five eight-channel battery testers Wuhan LAND CT2001A. In charge: Sarah.
Oxygen sensor: Hamilton Visiferm for quantifying dissolved and gaseous oxygen. In charge: Ryan.
Electrochemical dilatometer: ECD-3-nano by EL-CELL. In charge: André.
In-situ XRD electrochemical cell: ECC-OPTO-STD by EL-CELL. In charge: André.
In-line mass spectrometric analysis of electrocatalyis products: Hiden QGA quadrupole MS with direct injection from electrochemical cell. In charge: Jonas.
Light sources: 150-W solar simulator (Newport), modulated light source (Ivium Modulight). In charge: Dirk, Ignacio.
UV-vis spectrometer: OceanOptics spectrometer with liquid cell and integration sphere. In charge: Ryan.
Optical microscope: trinocular Motic BA310 with camera. In charge: Ryan.
Hall setup: Model K2500-3SLP by MMR Technologies, 80 K – 580 K, 5000 Gauss. In charge: Achim, Ignacio.
Quantum efficiency setup: Characterization of solar cells over the UV and visible based on a 300-W Xe lamp, an LED bias light, a double monochromator, and with either DC power meter or lock-in amplifier detection (Newport). In charge: Ignacio, Achim.

Other ‘group jobs’

Safety officer: Michael
Radiation safety officer: Sebastian
Electrically instructed person: Sebastian
Steps and ladder checks: Sebastian
Hazardous waste: Sebastian

“Working Safely in Laboratories — Basic Principles and Guidelines”

The guidelines of the German Compulsory Accident Insurance on how to implement the European and Federal occupational heath and safety laws and regulations as applicable to chemistry laboratories can be read here.

Our experience with various brands and companies

Thumbs up: Arradiance (ALD reactors), Gamry (electrochemical potentiostats), Jeol (SEM), REMx (refurbished SEM), Torr (sputter coater), Innovative (gloveboxes), OceanOptics (UV-vis spectrometer), GCC (laser cutter), ElektroAutomatik (power supplies), Nabertherm (ovens), Parr (high-pressure reactors), Vacuubrand (pumps), ModularFlow (ALD reactors), ZUMOlab (custom automation), Wuhan LAND (battery testers)

Thumbs down: Schlumberger (H2S adsorbent), Busch (dry vacuum pumps), Huber (chillers), Wallburg (laser cutter), MaterialsMates (electrochemical potentiostats), Ivium (electrochemical potentiostats and modulated light source)