Fundamentals of Energy Conversion Processes


A DFG Cluster of Excellence


Today’s sustainable energy research gains momentum by targeting specific energy technologies and their related materials. The cluster e-conversion instead strives to establish a complementary paradigm that bridges major energy conversion strategies ranging from photovoltaics over (photo)electrocatalysis to batteries by focusing on the materials interfaces that underlie these functions. Critical bottlenecks like recombination and relaxation losses, overpotentials, and resistances presently arise due to insufficient control of microscopic excitation and energy conversion (e-conversion) processes at these interfaces. e-conversion therefore merges the powerful concepts of nanoscience and mechanistic energy research to create well-defined and tunable reference systems, and to establish fundamental understanding through their comprehensive (operando) characterization. For this, we will structure and sculpt materials from their constituting units to controlled compositions, morphologies and molecular architectures. We will follow and orchestrate processes as short as femtoseconds and observe matter with resolution down to atomic dimensions. Research thrusts will address e-conversion processes at interfaces between different solid phases, between solids and liquids, and between molecular layers and solids. Unprecedented synergies, cross-fertilization and coherence of the research program arise from materials and processes common to different energy applications, and from different interfaces all contributing towards specific energy functions… Read more about e-conversion