Functional Materials Group


Renewable energy conversion and storage are relevant topics in applied research today, since the use of non-fossil energy sources is essential for the reduction of CO2 emissions. Solar and wind energy harvesting combined with chemical energy storage in batteries or fuels like hydrogen are essential processes, which need to be improved in efficiency, long-term stability and scalability. Our goal is to contribute to the development of cost effective scalable solutions for energy conversion and storage.

Latest Publications

Modified H2V3O8 to Enhance the Electrochemical Performance for Li‐ion Insertion: The Influence of Prelithiation and Mo‐Substitution

V sites in H2V3O8 were substiuted by Mo. The needle-shaped nanostructure was preserved combining a soft chemical synthesis approach with a hydrothermall process. Together with chemical prelithiation this modification lead to 40 % capacity increase (312 mAh g-1) and to improved stability with respect to H2V3O8.   


Scaling Up Electrodes For Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

A scalable fabrication process for particle-based electrodes for solar water splitting was developed. Demonstrator-size photoanodes exhibited complex performance changes related to electrode size. Scale-up of photoelectrochemically active electrodes needs careful consideration in terms of size and device geometry.

Local photocurrent density


Infrastructure project BioMat TEM was granted!  

The functional materials group is proud of being part of the project team BioMat-TEM. The aim of this project is the upgrade of the local transmission electron microscope with a cryo unit and an energy filter (1,9 MEu). It will enable subnanometer imaging and analysis of beam sensitive materials like energy materials or biomaterials.

Showcases for research enabled by the energy filter/cryo upgrade

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Oxidation state determination of CoOx cocatalyst nanoparticles with a size of  5-40 nm by core loss EELS. The cocatatalysts are deposited on the photocatalyst LaTiO2N (adapted from Pokrant S.  et al., Materials Today Energy, 5, 2017, 158)

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Cryo transmission electron micrograph of extracellular vesicles, scaling bar 100 nm (adapted from Corso G., Meisner-Kober N. et al., Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, 8, 2019,  1663043 )






Breakthrough in solar water splitting

In May, 2020, Simone Pokrant published a comment in the Nature science magazine’s News & Views section with her view on a breakthrough in catalyst design by Takata et al. that might accelerate the development of large-scale processes for producing hydrogen from water using sunlight.

Nature is one of the most quoted science magazines with the highest impact factor in its category.

Her article can be found here.   

The nature podcast corresponding to the work of Takata et al. is linked here.

We are pleased that the following students are currently writing their bachelor thesis with us:

Students Topic
Czternastek, Hubert Vanadylphosphate as energy storage material for metal-ion-batteries
Huber, Andreas Conductive networks for battery electrodes
Klammer, Peter Fabrication of photoanodes by scaleable processes



We are pleased that the following students are currently writing their master thesis with us:

Students Topic
Darge, Philipp Exploring ion insertion mechanisms by in-situ XRD
Jaros, Sophie Oxynitride photocatalysts for solar water splitting
Wendlinger, VeronikaFaraday efficiencies of photoelectrodes



Article "Scaling Up Electrodes For Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting" On Frontcover Of "ChemSusChem"

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Great success for the Functional Materials Group. Their article "Scaling Up Electrodes For Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting" (see section Latest Publications) was selected as front cover story in the science magazine "ChemSusChem". The magazine, released by the Wiley-VCH publishing house (Germany) on behalf of ChemPubSoc Europe, publishes scientific articles concerning interdisciplinary research at the interface of chemistry, material science, sustainability and energy. It has an impact factor of 7.7 and is ranked at place 18 of 157 magazines worldwide in the field of interdisciplinary chemistry.

  • News
    The Austrian Academy of Sciences has awarded Mag. Dr. Daniel Ehrmann, university assistant and doctoral candidate in the Department of German Studies, four year APART-Grant, which he will start on the1. 3. 2021.During this time he will complete his post doctoral thesis project „Aggregation. Relationaliity and the Constellations of Literature (1650 – 1950). Toward a medium range historical model.
    On the 05th March 2021 Univ. Prof. John W. C. Dunlop is holding a lecture on the topic of zum "Swarming Behaviour in Confinement - How curved surfaces influence pattern formation in biology." The lecture will take place at 14:00/ 2 pm online via Webex. The Department of Biological Sciences cordially invites you to attend.
    There are still many places available in Language Centre courses. Registration is still possible until 12 March 2021. Please note: registration is only possible by appointment.
    The project funding programme for research between PLUS and South East Asian partner universities, ASEA-UNINET Call 2021-2022 (Project implementation period: 1st October 2021 - 30th September 2022) is now open.
    Prof. Dr. Jude Lal Fernando, Assistant Professor at the Irish School of Ecumenics at Trinity College Dublin, will be holding lectures in SS 2021 on the topic of "Interreligious Relations in Asia" at the Centre for Intercultural Theology in the area of Religious Studies.
    The Project Application BioMat-TEM with the total volume of €1,948 million within the Framework of the Infrastructure funding from the Austrian Research Promotion Agenvy (FFG) has been approved.
    The programme for the summer semester is now online and the courses will be released shortly. We have improved our entrepreneurship courses. Register by the 14th March 2021.
    The Centre for Intercultural Theology and the Study of Religions and the University of Fribourg are organising an interdisciplinary online conference from the 16th-17th April 2021 (Start 16th April 2021 at 14:15).
    The restrictions of the pandemic – not only at the university – are becoming even more testing. Thank to everyone who, despite all the difficulties, has helped to keep the university running as best they can.
  • Veranstaltungen
  • 04.03.21 Grenzgänge - Folgen von neuen Grenzen für Arbeit und Unternehmen 4.3.2021
    05.03.21 Swarming Behaviour in Confinement How curved surfaces influence pattern formation in biology.
    09.03.21 Storytelling in der alltäglichen und beruflichen Kommunikation
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