March 7, 2021


Influence of oxygen content on the catalytic activity of gas phase mono-and bi-metallic clusters for green CO2 hydrogenation

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Sandra M. Lang


  • To produce mono-metal-oxide free clusters such as CuxOy+, ZnxOy+ XCuxOy+ and XZnxOy+ (X=Au,Pd);
  • To investigate their reactive and catalytic properties as a function of cluster size and metal to oxygen ratio
  • To identify important reaction intermediates and characterize their structure using infrared vibrational spectroscopy and computational modelling

Expected Results

  • Information on the change of the reactive and catalytic properties for H2, CO2 activation and conversion as a function of the metal to oxygen ratio
  • tuning the reactive and catalytic properties of metal-oxides by introducing a heterometal atom.
  • Providing atomistic level insight in the reaction mechanisms, which may assist the formulation of design guidelines for deposited clusters TCs and ECs.


  • Catchy Outreaching Events

Planned Secondments

  • FETI for training in computational studies of reaction pathways and modelling of spectroscopic data
  • RU for training on infrared vibrational spectroscopy of reaction intermediates

Job announcement

Doctoral Student / Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position

We are seeking the ESR 3 (doctoral student) of our recently funded Marie Sklodowska Curie-ITN CATCHY project on the “Design, implementation and production upscaling of novel, high-performance, multimetallic cluster-based catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation and electro-reduction”. Candidates should have (or be about to obtain) a master degree in Chemistry, Physics or a closely related subject, be highly motivated and skilled for working in an experimental and interdisciplinary research field, and ideally have a background in one or more of the following fields: physical chemistry, catalysis, mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy, and UHV techniques.

The ESR 3 at the Institute of Surface Chemistry and Catalysis of Ulm University will produce mono- and bi-metal oxide clusters and study their catalytic properties for CO2 hydrogenation as a function of cluster size and metal-to-oxygen ratio. Towards this goal the ESR will control and optimize the production of clusters (including base material tests), design and conduct reaction kinetic experiments in an ion trap as well as structurally characterize the clusters and their reaction products via infrared spectroscopy employing a Free Electron laser. The ESR will be further involved in the data analysis process as well as the presentation of the scientific results on conferences and in journals. Two periods of 1-2 months of mobility (secondment) at our EU partners are foreseen.

The position is funded by the EU for a duration of 3 years. The starting date should ideally be May 2021, or before July 2021.
Please check the employment conditions and apply online below before January 31st 2021.