Ceramic Electrodes and Electrolytes

The Braun Group researches on renewable energy sources for a safe, clean environment and a sustainable energy economy. Focus is the discovery and elucidation of principal mechanisms, which control behavior and properties of ceramics, in particular the correlation between materials structure and transport properties for electrochemical storage and conversion systems, the interaction of surfaces with gases, liquids, light, and organic matter.

For the understanding of structure-property relationships on the mesoscopic and molecular scale, we employ operando and in situ synchrotron x-ray and neutron scattering and spectroscopy, along with electrochemical and electroanalytical techniques. We collaborate with high profile partners worldwide.

Our Research Topics


News May 2024: PhD student Mrs. Gebremariam Kidan Gebreegziabher from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, has been selected as main applicant for the Swiss  Government Excellence Scholarship 2023-2024, and will be researching for one year in Braun's group at Empa from 1 September 2024 - 31 August 2025.

News April 2024: Braun, and Profs. Danielle Mai from Stanford University, Minkyu Kim from University of Arizona, Newaye Tegegne from Addis Ababa University, organize the Symposium "Bio-based and Biomimetic Polymers in Soft Robotics" at the MRS Spring Meeting 2024 in Seattle, WA, United States. Meeting Chairs Mmantsae Diale and Martin Kaltenbrunner are among the invited speakers. Among the MRS Best Poster Award Winners was also a poster from our Symposium: Yongyi Zhao, SB11.07.07 "A Self-Healing ElectricallyConductive OrganogelComposite". This Symposium is inspired by the COgITOR project.

News 11 February 2024: We welcome "returning" Visiting Professor Joey D. Ocon from University of the Phillipines Diliman, who spends his second stay at Empa now.

News 11 February 2024: We welcome Professor Julie Anne Del Rosario Paraggua from University of the Philippines Diliman, who will stay for one week and deliver a seminar talk with title "Levelized cost of hydrogen produced via solar- and wind-powered electrolysis in the Philippines".

News 01 February 2024: We welcome PhD student Ms. Glennise Faye Mejica from University of the Phillipines Diliman, who will be researching for two months on photoelectrochemical ammonia synthesis finded by the Swiss ASEAN project "Aurora".

News 23 November 2023: Dr. Nikolay Ryzhkov visits University of the Philippines Diliman and presents "Bio- and biomimicking interfaces for smart materials design and alternative energy harvesting".

News 07 October 2023: Artur Braun experiences rocket attacks during his sabbatical at Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

News 28 September 2023: Manuscript accepted by Advanced Science (Wiley IF 17): "Entropy and Isokinetic Temperature in Fast Ion Transport", by Du, Peng; Zhu, Hong; Braun, Artur; Yelon, Arthur; Chen, Qianli.

News 15 September 2023: Dr. Kwanele Kunene and Dr. Loghman Jamilpanah interview each other for the COgITOR project.

News 30 August 2023: We congratulate our ESKAS Fellow Dr. Kwanele Kunene for her new position at Chalmers University in Sweden.

News 18 July 2023: NCSU Professor Michael F. Dickey visits our lab and delivers a seminar presentation to staff and students. Sponsored by EU COgITOR project.

News 9-13 July 2023: Prof. Joey Ocon and Dr. Donn Matienzo visit our lab and deliver seminar presentation. Sponsored by ASEAN Aurora  project.

News 23 May 2023: ASU Battery Professor Candace Chan visits our lab and delivers a seminar presentation to staff and students. Sponsored by EU OpMetBat project.

News May 2023: PhD student and Postdoc, now Professor Debajeet K. Bora in Morocco, in German ZDF TV on solar hydrogen and climate



Projects & Funding Agencies

Project Akronym Description Logo Period

Solar Harvesting and Integration to Photoelectrochemical Cell for Nitrogen Economy; with Univ. of the Philippines Diliman, Prof. Joey Ocon

ETH Zurich  2024-2025

3D Printed Algal Biophotoelectrochemical Reactor For PV And Solar Fuel Production

Korean-Swiss Science and Technology Programme (KSSTP)
Aurora Renewable Ammonia with Univ. of the Philippines Diliman, Prof. Joey Ocon Konsistenzprüfung Höhere Berufsbildung - Ectaveo AG 2023

Operando metrology for energy storage materials

Logo progetto EURAMET OpMetBat 2022 - 2025
HySPARC Sustainable hydrogen production in space by radiation hard cyanobacterial biofilms in a photoelectrochemical (PEC) system using boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrodes 2022 - 2025

A new colloidal cybernetic system towards 2030

COGiTOR - A new COlloidal cybernetIc sysTem tOwaRds

File:Horizon 2020 Logo.png - Wikipedia

2021 - 2025
ESKAS Electrosynthesis of Ammonia (South Africa) Konsistenzprüfung Höhere Berufsbildung - Ectaveo AG  2022 - 2023

Proton conductivity in epitaxial strained thin films

Swiss National Science Foundation 2021 - 2025

Flanders/Swiss Lead Agency Process: Charge and energy transfer between cyanobacteria and semiconductor electrodes under gamma-irradiation

Swiss National Science Foundation

Logo NWO

SUNRISE Solar Energy for a Circular Economy File:Horizon 2020 Logo.png - Wikipedia  
Yonsei Electrochemistry of the thylakoid membrane - metal oxide electrode assemblies Swiss National Science Foundation  

SNF Korean Swiss project: Molecular and physical aspects of dye sensitization of photoelec-trodes with copper-based sensitizer molecules

Swiss National Science Foundation NRF(National Research Foundation of Korea)  
SSAJRP Production of Liquid Solar Fuels from CO2 and Water: Using Renewable Energy Resources Swiss National Science Foundation  
Pattern Formation for PEC Reaction-diffusion processes for the growth of patterned structures and architectures: A bottom-up approach for photoelectrochemical electrodes Swiss National Science Foundation  
PEC EPFL Defects in the bulk and on surfaces and interfaces of metal oxides with photoelectrochemical properties: In-situ photoelectrochemical and resonant x-ray and electron spectroscopy studies Swiss National Science Foundation  
NANOPEC Nanostructured Photoelectrodes for Energy Conversion  
SOFC-Life Solid Oxide Fuel Cells – Integrating Degradation Effects into Lifetime Prediction Models  
MetInsTra X-ray and electrochemical studies on solid Oxide fuel cells and related materials Swiss National Science Foundation  
HITEMPECHEM X-ray and electrochemical studies on solid Oxide fuel cells and related materials  


Organized Conferences, Symposia & Workshops
Year Role Event Participants  Location
2025 Co-Organizer Artur Braun, with Elena Rozhkova, Qianli Chen, WonHyoung Ryu MRS Spring Meeting Symposium on "Protons in Solids, Fluids, and Molecules"   Seattle, USA
2024 Co-Organizer Artur Braun, with Minkyu Kim, Danielle J. Mai, Newayemedhin Aberra Tegegne  MRS Spring Meeting Symposium on bio inspired soft robotics 300 Seattle, USA
2023 Area Coordinator Artur Braun, with Gesa Beck EUROMAT H: Materials for Circularity and Sustainability 1000 Frankfurt, Germany
2021 Co-Organizer Artur Braun, with Nicolas Gaillard, Elena Rozhkova PACIFICHEM, Hawai'i / Symp. Artificial Photosynthesis 150 Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA
2019 Lead-Organizer Artur Braun, Rita Toth SUNRISE Flagship Stakeholder Workshop 30 Empa, Switzerland
2017 Co-Organizer Rita Toth, with Mmantsae Diale,  MRS Fall Meeting Symposium   Boston MA, USA
2017 Co-Organizer Artur Braun ALS User Meeting Workshop: Synchrotron Bio Materials 30 Berkeley CA, USA
2015 Co-Chair Artur Braun, with Hongyou Fan, Ken Haenen, Lia Stanciu, Jeremy A. Theil MRS Spring Meeting 2015 5'500 San Francisco CA, USA
2015 Lead Artur Braun Int'l Expl. Workshop PEC, Cat. & X-ray  30 Empa, Switzerland
2013 Lead Artur Braun Int'l Expl. Workshop X-ray Electrochemistry 30 Empa, Switzerland
2013 Co-Organizer Artur Braun, with Arndt Remhof,  ESS Science Symposium: Future Energy 40 PSI/SINQ, Switzerland
2013 Co-Organizer Artur Braun, with Elena Rozhkova MRS Spring Meeting Symposium Artificial Photosynthesis 100 San Francisco CA; USA
2012 Co-Organizer Artur Braun MRS Fall Meeting; Symposium Frontier Chemical Imaging 100 Boston MA, USA
2012 Co-Organizer Artur Braun MSE Symposium D4 “Thin Films”, Darmstadt 40 Darmstadt, Germany
2011 Lead Organizer Artur Braun MRS Spring Symposium on Protons in Solids 80 San Francisco CA, USA
2011 Co-Organizer Artur Braun E-MRS Spring Meeting Symposium, Materials for solar hydrogen 80 Nice, France
2010 Lead Organizer Artur Braun MRS Spring Symp Energy Materials Synchrotron Neutron  100 San Francisco CA, USA
2010 Lead Organizer Artur Braun, with Clemens Heske, Matthew Marcus, Jingha Guo Advanced Light Source Users Meeting Workshop 25 Berkeley CA, USA
2009 Lead Organizer ArturBraun, with P.  Alivisatos , Egbert Figgemeier , John Turner , Jinhua Ye  MRS Spring Meeting Symposium Photoelectrochemistry 250 San Francisco CA, USA
2009 Lead Organizer Artur Braun,with Clemens Heske, Jinghua Guo, Hendrik Bluhm ALS Users Meeting Workshop Soft X-Ray Renewable Energy 25 Berkeley CA, USA
2008 Co-Organizer Selma Erat Empa PhD Symposium   St. Gallen, Switzerland
2006 Assistant of Organizer, with Peter Holtappels MODVAL3 Workshop Modelling & Validation Fuel Cells 40 Empa, Switzerland


Presentations by Group Members, Visitors & Guests

Name Affiliation Title Conference Place Date
Dr. Paul J. Janssen SCK CEN, Mol, Belgium Sustainable, functional material on biobasis PHOGAM Project Empa, Dübendorf 5 June 2024
Dr. Qing Chen Braun Group The Design, Fabrication and Structural Modeling of Biomimetic Soft Materials for Robotic Applications MRS Spring Meeting; COgITOR; Distinguished Invited Speaker Seattle, WA, United States 23 April 2024
Assoc.-Prof. Julie Anne Paraggua UP Diliman, Philippines

Levelized cost of hydrogen produced via solar- and wind-powered electrolysis in the Philippines

Empa Seminar Empa, Dübendorf 13 February 2024
Dr. Nikolay Ryzhkov Braun Group

Bio- and biomimicking interfaces for smart materials design and alternative energy harvesting

DChE Seminar UP Diliman, Philippines 23 November 2023
MSc Nora Colson Hasselt Univ., Braun Group Welcome Presentation Internal: ESA HySPARK Project Empa Dübendorf 1 September 2023
Dr. Kwanele Kunene Braun Group Farewell Presentation of ESKAS Fellow Internal: ESKAS Project Empa Dübendorf 30 August 2023
Dr. Loghman Jamilpanah Braun Group, Hug Group

Developing Metallic Multilayers Hosting Different Skyrmion Types Toward Local Control via Electric Fields (Poster)

13th Joint European Magnetic Symposia Madrid, Spain 29 August 2023
Dr. Nikolay Ryzhkov Braun Group

Electric polarization effect on photosynthetic efficiency, non-photochemical quenching and photovoltaic performance of intact Limnospira indica based photoelectrodes

20th Congress of the European Society for Photobiology

28 August 2023
Dr. Qing Chen Braun Group

Multi-sensing and self-healing skin for robotic applications

ACS Fall Meeting 2023 San Francisco, California 16 August 2023
Prof. Michael Dickey North Carolina State University Shaping a soft future COgITOR project seminar Empa Dübendorf 19 July 2023
Prof. Joey Ocon & Dr. DJ Donn Matienyo University of The Philippines Diliman

A Vertically Integrated Research Approach on Catalysis, Electrochemistry, and Energy Engineering

Seminar of the ASEAN Aurora Ammonia Electrosynthesis project Empa Dübendorf 12 July 2023
Prof. Candace Chan Arizona State University

Nanostructured Li7La3Zr2O12 Garnet Solid-State Electrolytes: Effect of Synthesis Route on Microstructure, Ionic Conductivity, and Lithium Stripping/Plating Behavior

OpMetBat project semina Dübendorf, Empa 24 May 2023
Dr. Artur Braun Empa

Parameterization of Proton Transport in Ceramic Electrolyte Membranes by Elastic Strain

Colloquim 636 of the European Mechanical Society

Besancon, France 23 May 2023
Dr. Qing Chen Braun Group

Investigation of strain-induced deformation of polymer thin films with small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) as a tool for microstructural study

Colloquim 636 of the European Mechanical Society


Besancon, France 22 May 2023
Dr. Nikolay Ryzhkov Braun Group

Electric Polarization Effect on Photosynthetic Performance of Limnospira Immobilized at Diamond-like Carbon Electrodes

35th Topical Meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry

Gold Coast, Australia 9 May 2023


Research Group Members


Dr. Alexey Rulev
Dr. Nikolay Ryzhkov






Name Position in Group Current Position
Loghman Jamilpanah Postdoc Scientist  
Glennise Faye Mejica Visiting PhD Student PhD Student, Univ. of the Philippines
Qing Chen Scientist Empa
Yang Luo Visiting Scientist Assistant Professor, Strathclyde
Selma Erat PhD Student ETHZ Professor, Mersin University
Renata Solarska Postdoc, Swiss BfE Professor, Warsaw University
Debajeet K. Bora PhD Student Uni Basel Professor, Ben Guerir University, Morocco
Qianli Chen PhD Student ETHZ Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

Ramin Matloub Aghdam

MSc Student KTH PhD EPFL, Entrepreneur, PIEMACS Sarl, Lausanne
Kwanele Kunene ESKAS Postdoc Fellow Chalmers University, Sweden
Jean-Claude Tinguely MSc Student FH Vorarlberg PhD, Researcher at Tromso, University of the Arctic, Norway,
Jean-Pierre Pierog MSc Student Univ. de Montpellier ALSTOM, Engineer
Romy Löhnert BSc Student Ernst Abbe hochschule Jena PhD, Ernst Abbe Hochschule Jena
Dorota Flak PhD Student AGH Staff Scientist, Poznan University
Simon Tymen MSc Student Univ. de Pau PhD Berlin, Univ. de Nantes
Mateusz Schabikowski MSc Student AGH Adjunct, Polish Acad. of Sciences
Min-Kyu Son Postdoc  Senior Researcher, KICET, Korea 
Nikolett Nagy BSc Student, Univ. of Szeged MSc Univ. of Szeged
Krzysztof Szastak MSc Student, AGH Krakow Project Manager
Mahabubur Chowdhoury Visiting Scientist, CPUT, Cape Town Professor, CPUT, South Africa
Edvinas Navickas PhD Student TU Wien Infineon Technologies
Yelin Hu PhD Student EPFL BASF
Florent Boudoire PhD Student Uni Basel R&D Engineer CSEM, Neuchatel
Itani Madiba PhD Student UNISA Senior Researcher, Univ. of South Africa, Pretoria
Gareth-John Moore MSc Student U Pretoria PhD Uni Berne, RP Photonics AG
Kelebogile D. Mmabong PhD Student U Pretoria Senior Lecturer, Univ. of Botswana
Niels Burzan MSc Student Uni Basel PhD, CEO Mentix Schweiz GmbH
Gunnar Nurk Scientist Professor, Tartu University
Michel Prestat Scientist Senior Researcher, French Corrosion Institute
George Tsekouras Postdoc Research Fellow, Australian National University
Jianjun Wang Postdoc Professor, Shandong University
Tzu-Wen Huang Postdoc Sensor Industry, Switzerland
Alejandro Ovalle Postdoc Teaching
Rita Toth Scientist Coaching & Counseling
Songhak Yoon Scientist Staff Scientist, Fraunhofer IWKS 
Krisztina Schrantz Scientist, Asst.-Professor Head EHSS, SOLVO Biotech