Physical Chemistry Department -

Because there are some people who don’t go to the spring DPG meeting…

In a continued attempt to tell as many people as possible about our ongoing activities Yujin went on a China tour giving talks at the Harbin Institute of Technology to chemical engineers on May 15th (Application of Vibrational Sum Frequency Spectroscopy to Study Various Surfaces and Interfaces) and at the State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces Xiamen University, on May 18th (Probing Electrochemical Interfaces with Vibrational Sum Frequency Spectroscopy). In pursuit of the same goal Kramer went to Kaiserslautern, because it’s closer,  for this year’s Bunsentagung where he gave a talk on May 26th titled Towards a Femtosecond Resolved View of the Mechanism of the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction on Au.

Our work out and about…

In this year’s spring meeting of the Condensed Matter Section of the DPG (Dresden, March 19-24) Yujin entertained the assembled multitudes with his view of the electrochemical oxidation of gold and out theory collaborator Sergery Levchenko told the world about our view of why CH2 is stabilized at steps on the basal plane of Ruthenium. If you’re interested in gold oxidation stay tuned but if you’d like to know more about CH2 stabilization, well, you’re in luck. Harald’s paper on this very subject is available in Journal of Physical Chemistry C (or by e-mailing us for a reprint).

Paper published in Angewandte Chemie

In a nice bit of news for a Friday afternoon, Yujin’s paper Hydrophobic Water Probed Experimentally at the Gold Electrode/Aqueous Interface” has just been published in Angewandte Chemie. If you’re passionate about water at metal interfaces (and you should be!!!) here’s the abstract:

Quantitative description of reaction mechanisms in aqueous phase electrochemistry requires experimental characterization of local water structure at the electrode/aqueous interface and its evolution with changing potential. Gaining such insight experimentally under electrochemical conditions is a formidable task. The potential-dependent structure of a subpopulation of interfacial water with one OH group pointing towards a gold working electrode is characterized using interface specific vibrational spectroscopy in a thin film electrochemical cell. Such free-OH groups are the molecular level observable of an extended hydrophobic interface. This free-OH interacts only weakly with the Au surface at all potentials, has an orientational distribution that narrows approaching the potential of zero charge, and disappears on oxidation of the gold electrode.

Out and About at Erkner

Lu and Kramer attended the “International Symposium of the CRC 1109: Metal Oxide – Water Systems” in Erkner from February 19 – 22. Kramer gave an invited talk about our continuing effort to understand the molecular level structure (and hydrophobicity) of the α-Al2O3(0001)/liquid water interface and Lu a poster explaining in detail the challenges in collecting optical surface phonon spectra (of the α-Al2O3(1120) surface) in UHV and how she has managed to overcome them.

First (tentative) step in our move to the new building…

The, somewhat, sisyphean task of moving to our new building has begun. The first tentative step in this direction was moving our 8W laser system off the table this Friday, February 24th. This empty spot is where it used to live.

First group bowling outing

On Sunday afternoon we had a brain storming session at Inselbowl (american style bowling in Berlin). Displaying the form that made him university champion as an undergraduate, Yujin ended with the high round of the day.