Hydrogen spectroscopy (Contact PD Dr. A. Borgschulte)

Hydrogen is the ubiquitous element in the environment. The element plays a keyrole in biology, chemistry and physics: It is involved in numerous chemical reactions, from photosynthesis to the combustion of its products. Due to its ambivalent chemical character, it is the carrier of charges in electro-chemical reactions, as a proton (hydronium ion) and hydroxide ion in water, or in proton-coupled electron transfer reactions. The weight and atomic number of hydrogen of 1da has some peculiar consequences: it is the lightest element and as such the renewable energy carrier with the highest energy density. Related to this is the high diffusion of hydrogen in most materials, making hydrogen an omnipresent impurity. As a consequence of its atomic number, hydrogen has only one electron. Particularly this property is a challenge for many analytical tools based on the interaction with electrons: core-level spectroscopies such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray cannot be used as a quantitative method for hydrogen, and hydrogen is nearly invisible for X-ray diffraction. Despite its relevance in science and technology, the qualitative and quantitative determination of hydrogen is challenging.

The group hydrogen spectroscopy develops, utilizes and applies thus spectroscopies for hydrogen, which are based on different properties than the ones based on the interaction with electrons, i.e., the small mass is ideal in vibrational spectroscopies such as Raman-, infrared and inelastic Neutron spectroscopy. Isotope effects are very strong, and can also be used in Mass spectrometry. The small mass and thus high diffusion coefficient is used to discriminate hydrogen from other compounds/elements in gas chromatography and membrane devices. Based on specific chemical reaction of hydrogen with matter, hydrogen can be detected indirectly, which is the basis of many hydrogen detectors.

Our aim is the development and application of hydrogen spectroscopies with particular focus on energy conversion reactions.

Selected publications:

  • A Borgschulte, The Hydrogen Challenge, Frontiers in Energy Research 4, 11 (2016)
  • R. Delmelle, P. Ngene, B. Dam, D. Bleiner, and A. Borgschulte, Promotion of hydrogen desorption from Pd surfaces by fluoropolymer coating, ChemCatChem. 2016, 8, 1646 – 1650.
  • Borgschulte, R. Delmelle, R. B. Duarte, A. Heel, P. Boillat and E. Lehmann, Water distribution in a sorption enhanced methanation reactor by time resolved neutron imaging, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 18, 17217 (2016).
  • Vincent Juvé, Marcel Holtz, Flavio Zamponi, Michael Woerner, Thomas Elsaesser, and A. Borgschulte, Field-driven dynamics of correlated electrons in LiH and NaBH4 revealed by femtosecond x-ray diffraction, Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 217401 (2013).
  • A. Remhof and A. Borgschulte, Thin-Film Metal Hydrides, Chem. Phys. Chem. 9, 2440-2455 (2008).
  • Andreas Züttel, Andreas Borgschulte, Louis Schlapbach, (eds.) Hydrogen as a Future Energy Carrier, Wiley-VCH, Heidelberg 2008.