A pEek on the lab

Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt (Switzerland)

Contacts: Artur BRAUN, artur.braun@empa.ch

Web-site: https://www.empa.ch/web/s201/ceramic-electrodes-electrolytes


"Textbooks on electrochemical energy conversion and storage, renewable energy and electromobility"


Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, is a member of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (Swiss FIT), with over 1'000 staff and students at three locations in Switzerland. The headquarter in Dübendorf has numerous Laboratories (Abteilungen, Divisions) equipped with various standard and modern scientific tools. Empa Akademie and Empa NEST at the Dübendorf campus are platforms for hosting workshops, symposia and conferences. The Laboratory for High Performance Ceramics (LHPC) at Empa is a center of competence in ceramics synthesis, processing, and science. Most of the lab's activities concern synthesis, processing and shaping of ceramic precursors and materials and components for numerous industrial applications. For about 20 years, one of its four research groups has conducted research in electrochemical energy conversion, literally high temperature (solid oxide) fuel cells, and later semiconductor photoelectrochemistry and lithium ion battery cells. This group has attained international acclaim for their electrochemistry research and operando and in situ studies at synchrotron and neutron facilities.

Design engineers and machine shop technicians at Empa are experienced in making custom-built electrochemical cells for operando studies.

"First operando Li battery study with X-ray Raman spectroscopy, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory 2012."


The electrochemistry lab at Empa LHPC hosts analytical equipment for electrochemical energy storage and conversion experiments. This includes a ProboStat® with a Solartron impedance analyzer (with resistance range extender) for high temperature gas-phase/solid electrolyte cell assemblies, an electrode poisoning test rig, a Voltalab80 potentiostat, an AMEL potentiostats, several Gamry potentiostats, several IVIUM potentiostats, IVIUM rotating disk electrode system, a photoelectrochemical cell test station with solar light simulators, numerous monochromatic and white light LEDs, an IMPS/IMVS test station, a gas chromatograph for photoelectrochemical operando studies, various electrode test cells, bioelectrode test systems including a BioRAD SDS Page electrophoresis set. Impedance analysis software from Gamry, Ivium, ZView, and Z_meam from NIMS, Japan. Several tube furnaces with T up to 1200°C are available. We have two fume hoods, one of which contains a Heliospectra solar simulator for plant growth studies.

"Empa operando x-ray spectro-electrochemical cell for lithium battery studies at synchrotron radiation facilities (2011)."


The spectroscopy lab at Empa LHPC hosts a whole range of optical equipment and spectrometers for various research fields. This includes a monochromatic light source, several solar simulator xenon lamps, numerous white light and monochromatic LEDs, an ALS SEC2000 UV Vis spectrometer, an ANDOR Shamrock 303i-B spectrometer, two Thorlabs CCS200 UV Vis spectrometers, one xenon light source, one deuterium light source, a Thorlabs Raman spectrometer with 758 nm excitation light, a KP020 Kelvin Probe, a KP Ambient Air Photoemission Spectrometer, a WALZ PAM Fluorescence spectrometer.


Research Group Leader and Principal Investigator at Empa

aRTUR braun

Dr. Artur Braun studied at RWTH Aachen Physics, Metallurgy & Mining, and Human Medicine, and graduated from RWTH as Diplom-Physiker in 1996, after he had conducted his diploma thesis at Forschungszentrum Jülich in ultrathin magnetic films. Braun carried out his doctoral research at Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland on carbon based supercapacitors and graduated as Dr. sc. nat. from ETH Zürich in 1999. After two years of research on lithium batteries at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, USA, he moved to University of Kentucky for research on combustion aerosols. Since 2005, Braun works at Empa on various fields of electrochemical energy storage and conversion, including solid oxide fuel cells, lithium batteries, and photoelectrochemical cells. Braun has been using synchrotron radiation (and also neutron scattering) for over 25 years, during which he and his research group pioneered several approaches, for example operando X-ray Raman spectroscopy on a lithium battery, and operando solar water splitting with soft X-ray NEXAFS. Braun has co-authored over 170 publications and written four graduate level textbooks on electrochemistry, synchrotron radiation, photosynthesis, and hydrogen mobility. Dr. Braun has attracted around 5.5 Million Swiss Francs in research funds, and presented over 200 talks worldwide, half of which invited, keynote or plenary talks. He is active in human capacity building in African and other countries. The influential Foreign Policy (Washington D.C.) magazine has listed Braun and some of his group members as Leading Global Thinkers in 2014.

Empa Postdoc Alexey Rulev

aLEXEY rulev

Dr. Alexey Rulev will be joining the OpMetBat project as a postdoc in March 2023. He graduated with honors from the Materials Science Department at Moscow State University in 2018, and later received his PhD in solid state chemistry and electrochemistry from the same university in 2022. While studying, Alexey performed joint doctoral studies at MSU and the Institute of Electrochemistry in Ulm University, where he gained experience in quantum chemistry calculations. His PhD thesis was focused on lithium metal electrodeposition, and he has also gained general experience in the field of lithium-ion batteries. In addition, he participated in a number of experiments at synchrotron and neutron radiation sources and was part of a project investigating electrochemical interfaces using these techniques..