de | en

Physics of Electrochemical Interfaces

Module PH2274

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Basic Information

PH2274 is a semester module in English or German language at which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 60 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2274 is Katharina Krischer.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Many energy conversion and storage processes are based on electrochemical devices. Among them batteries and fuel cells are certainly the most well-known; others include water electrolyzers and supercapacitors whose importance steadily increases. The lecture discusses the electrochemical fundamentals required in current research on electrochemical energy conversion. It covers thermodynamics and microscopic structures of the solid-liquid interface, the kinetics of charge transfer processes as well as transport processes in the electrolyte. The above aspects are discussed not only for macroscopic electrodes, but also for nanoelectrodes as well as microelectrode arrays and structured surfaces. In addition to the physical and electrochemical foundations, state-of-the-art methods for the investigation of the solid-liquid interface are introduced. These include cyclic voltammetry, impedance spectroscopy, scanning probe and spectroscopic methods.

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of the module the students are able to:

  1. understand and apply thermodynamics and kinetics at the solid-liquid interface
  2. understand electrochemical processes in important energy conversion or storage processes (e.g., batteries, fuel cells, water splitting, supercapacitors, etc.)

  3. understand basic features of state-of-the-art investigation methods at solid-liquid interfaces, such as cyclic voltammetry, impedance measurements, scanning probe or spectroscopic methods


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

The teaching an learning content is presented, discussed, and explained in a structured and detailed manner. A comprehensive knowledge of the physical and chemical aspects of electrochemical interfaces is imparted. Universal methodic and physical concepts are highlighted by cross referencing between different topics. The students are involved in scientific discussions to stimulate their analytic thinking in physical problems. Regular attendance is, hence, highly recommended.

The presentation of the learning content is enhanced by examples and calculations. They are intended to deepen the students understanding of the course material. The students are welcome to discuss any problems with the teacher or the tutors.


beamer presentation, board work, practise sheets, accompanying internet sites, complementary literature


  • Electrochemical Methods, eds.: A.J. Bard and L.R. Faulkner (Wiley, 2001)
  • Interfacial Electrochemistry, eds.: W. Schmickler and E. Santos (Springer, 2010)
  • Physics of energy conversion, K. Krischer and K. Schönleber (De Gruyter, 2015)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of about 30 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions, reflection of simple formulas for the description of elementary relations, and sample calculations for order-of-magnitude estimates.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Description of a interface between a solid and a liquid phase.
  • Explanation of the potential distribution across an electrochemical interface.
  • Describing and explaining the charge transfer process across an electrochemical interface.

Participation in the tutorials is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

Top of page