Maximilian Winzely received his BSc in Technical Chemistry from the Vienna University of Technology in July 2019, where he worked on porous copper metallization for semiconductor devices during his bachelor thesis. Afterwards, he started his MSc degree (2019 – 2021) at the same university where he specialized on analytical and physical chemistry. He conducted his master thesis at the University of California, Los Angeles (2020) under the supervision of Professor Carlos Morales-Guio. There he got his first expertise in electrochemical CO2 reduction by studying the influence of the diffusive boundary layer thickness on the product selectivity of copper-based catalysts. In his spare time Maximilian can be found either skiing or hiking in the mountains or riding his bike.
Structure-activity relations in supported size-selected clusters under CO2 electro-reduction conditions
The main goal of this research project is to optimize the conversion rate of carbon dioxide to CO during the so-called electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) by using CO2RR-catalysts consisting of bimetallic nanoparticle clusters of selected size. Thereby a systematic investigation will be performed to gain a deeper understanding of how the structure, composition, and size of these clusters affect the outcome of the CO2RR. To this end, in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) investigations will be conducted on the most promising cluster systems. From that, valuable information about the structural and electronic properties of the clusters under reducing conditions will be extracted, and used to design novel materials with enhanced CO2RR-activity and -selectivity. This PhD project will be conducted at the Paul Scherrer Institut under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Thomas J. Schmidt and Dr. Juan Herranz.