Institut für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie

Emmy Noether Research Group SPECSY

The SPECSY group investigates solid-liquid interfaces by a combination of electronic structure modelling and experimental optical spectroscopy. The aim is to understand on an atomistic level the structure of electrochemical interfaces as a function of the potential applied to the electrode. We address the challenge to convey this information through the liquid electrolyte in a time-resolved manner by employing the highly interface-sensitive optical technique reflection anisotropy spectroscopy in electrochemical environments. The experimental spectra are then interpreted with the aid of computational spectroscopy on top of an electronic structre from density functional theory. Our approach will help to understand ion adsorption and corrosion processes in solar fuel devices and batteries.


05/03/2024 The work of the NETPEC consortium, turning CO2 into carbon flakes, has been featured in the science TV-show Nano on 3Sat.

06/02/2024 Justus' article The relevance of structural variability in the time-domain for computational reflection anisotropy spectroscopy at solid-liquid interfaces where we explore the impact of structural fluctuations on the fs-timescale in DFT-molecular dynamics on computational RAS has appeared in Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter. DOI:10.1088/1361-648X/ad215b.

01/02/2024 Our new Apium P200 3d printer for creating electrochemical sample environments in PEEK has arrived.


13/10/2023 Margot's article "In Situ Monitoring of the Al(110)-[EMImCl]:AlCl3 Interface by Reflection Anisotropy Spectroscopy" has appeared in Batteries & Supercaps: DOI:10.1002/batt.202300394. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first use of electrochemical RAS for a battery system.

02/10/2023 Erica's article "Photoelectrochemical Schlenk cell functionalization of multi-junction water-splitting photoelectrodes" demonstrating very high solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies of >18% on larger areas for a photoelectrochemical system has appeared in Cell Reports Physical Science. The cell is based on an absorber from our project partner AZUR SPACE and we have developed a routine to modify the absorber-electrolyte interface photoelectrochemically in a well-controlled manner, also using in situ reflection anisotropy spectroscopy. DOI:10.1016/j.xcrp.2023.101606.


13/06/2023 The first lecture ANM16 - Fortgeschrittene Elektrochemie takes place on 15/06/2023 in room VG 1.034 (Auf der Morgenstelle 15) from 12:15 to 13:45.

05/2023 Our work on carbon dioxide removal in the NETPEC-project has been featured in Uni Tübingen's magazine attemtpo!.

23/03/2023 Margot's review "Experimental and Computational Aspects of Electrochemical Reflection Anisotropy Spectroscopy: A Review" has appeared in ChemElectroChem. DOI:10.1002/celc.202300027.

28/11/2022 Jongmin's article "Resta-like preconditioning for self-consistent field iterations in the linearized augmented planewave method" has appeared in Electronic Structure. DOI:10.1088/2516-1075/aca24a.

15/11/2022 Our newest article on electrochemical operando spectroscopy using reflection anisotropy spectroscopy to study the structure of InP in contact with electrolytes has appeared in RSC Advances: The interfacial structure of InP(100) in contact with HCl and H2SO4 studied by reflection anisotropy spectroscopy.

07/10/2022 We  have an open experimental postdoc position from 01.12.2022 on in the H2Demo project on highly efficient solar water splitting. More detailed infos to follow soon!

19/08/2022 Our paper The annual-hydrogen-yield-climatic-response ratio: evaluating the real-life performance of integrated solar water splitting devices has appeared in Sustainable Energy & Fuels. DOI:10.1039/D2SE00561A .

14/06/2022 Our Perspective The role of selective contacts and built-in field for charge separation and transport in photoelectrochemical devices by Markus Schleuning et al. has been accepted in Sustainable Energy & Fuels. DOI: 10.1039/D2SE00562J. It has also made it on the inside front cover of the journal.

10/04/2022 Our Perspective Negative Emissions as the New Frontier of Photoelectrochemical CO2 Reduction, the first publication of the NETPC-project, has appeared in Advanced Energy Materials. DOI:10.1002/aenm.202103801.

23/03/2022 Our newest review paper Combining experimental and computational methods to unravel the dynamical structure of photoelectrosynthetic interfaces has appeared in Current Opinion in Electrochemistry. DOI:10.1016/j.coelec.2022.100968 .

16/03/2022 Daniel, Erica, and Holger have joined our team. Welcome!

09/12/2021 An overview talk of what we're doing in our group can be found here:

07/12/2021 Our Website at Uni Tübingen is online! But still under construction...

Group leader

Dr. Matthias May

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Institut für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie
Auf der Morgenstelle 15
VG room 0.009
 +49 7071 29-76392

Group members


We are working on solar hydrogen prototypes in the H2Demo project. Furthermore, we explore photoelectrochemical approaches to negative emissions in the NETPEC project. For batteries beyond lithium ion technology, we also have a project in the POLiS cluster.