DEPARTMENT OF
PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY
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Electrochemistry is the chemistry of electrons and charge transfer. For a molecular level understanding one would like to probe the dynamics of electron transfer at the electrochemical interface on all relevant time scale.  While conventional electrochemical characterization methods such as impedance spectroscopy are very useful in sampling “slow” dynamics, they are not fast enough for processes such as interfacial electron transfer or solvent reorganization. In this study a novel optoelectronic technique has been developed combining femtosecond lasers and conventional electrochemical electronics to characterize the birth and ultrafast structural evolution of solvated electrons at the gold/water interface. Transient spectra with a time resolution of 50 fs reveal novel aspects of the properties of solvated electrons at the interface, like trapping in a “hot state” and its subsequent evolution. The technique will enable a better understanding of hot electron-driven reactions at electrochemical interfaces.

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The “electron dynamiχ” group leader from the Department of Physical Chemistry was appointed professor by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on April 1st, 2020.

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The Award Committee of the Japan Society of Vacuum and Surface Science (JVSS) has selected Dr. Takashi Kumagai (Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, Germany) as the Rising Medalist of The Heinrich Rohrer Medal for the his achievements to combine plasmonic near-field physics with low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The prize will be awarded in a ceremony at the International Symposium on Surface Science(ISSSS-9) in November 2020, Takamatsu, Japan.
The work by Takashi Kumagai combines highly original research on naoscale surface science with the physics of locally enhanced electromagnetic fields in atonically controlled STM junctions. A key development technical development are nano-fabricated plasmonics tips allowing to localize of light down to the atomistic (i.e. Angstrom) length scale. This enabled highly reliable and reproducible experiments and the discovery of a novel processes like plasmon-assisted resonance electron transfer, near-field induced chemical reactions, and the demonstration of tip-enhanced resonance Raman spectroscopy in quantum point contacts.

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