Department of Chemical Physics
Fritz Haber Institut der Max Planck
Hans-Joachim Freund studied physics and chemistry at the University of Cologne where he received his Ph.D. in 1978 and his habilitation in 1983. Between 1979 and 1981, he worked in the Physics Department at the University of Pennsylvania as a postdoctoral fellow. In 1983, he became Associate Professor at Erlangen University and in 1987 Professor at Bochum University, and in 1995, he accepted a position as scientific member and director of the Department of Chemical Physics at the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin.
The department is dedicated to the study of model catalysts, applying a large number of techniques and instruments, some of which were newly developed within the department to investigate oxide surfaces and oxide metal interfaces. He serves as Adjunct Professor at five universities in Germany and UK. He received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award of the German Science Foundation (DFG) and the Karl-Ziegler-Award of the German Chemical Society. In 2012, Hajo Freund was awarded the Blaise Pascal Medal in Material Science of the European Academy of Sciences. He is Centenary Lecturer of the Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom and the recipient of the Gabor A. Somorjai Award of the American Chemical Society. He is a regular member of the Chemical Sciences Section of the Academia Europea, the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Chemical section of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and an Elected Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Hajo Freund holds an honorary Doctorate from University Aix Marseille, France and of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). In 2014, he received the Gaede-Langmuir Award of the American Vacuum Society and is the recipient of the 2015 Michel Boudart for the Advancement of Catalysis, sponsored by the Haldor Topsøe Company and administered by the North American Catalysis Society and the European Federation of Catalysis Societies. He is Fellow of the American Physical Society and of several scientific societies; member of several advisory boards of scientific journals, has published 760 scientific papers with more than 40.000 citations and given more than 720 invited talks. He has held a number of named lectureships around the world. Hajo Freund is a founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council. He has educated more than 120 PhD students and collaborated with more than 70 postdoctoral associates. Hans-Joachim Freund serves as Honorary Professor of five universities.
Our understanding of catalysis, and in particular heterogeneous catalysis, is to a large ex-tend based on the investigation of model systems. The enormous success of metal single crystal model surface chemistry, pioneered by physical chemists, is an outstanding example. Increasing the complexity of the models towards supported nanoparticles, resembling a real disperse metal catalyst, allows one to catch in the model some of the important aspects that cannot be covered by single crystals alone. One of the more important aspects is the support particle interface. We have developed strategies to prepare such model systems based on single crystalline oxide films, which are used as supports for metal, and oxide nanoparticles, which may be studied at the atomic level using the tools developed in surface science.
However, those oxide films may also serve as reaction partners themselves, as they are models for SMSI states of metal catalyst. Using such model systems, we are able to study a number of fundamental questions of potential interest, such as reactivity as a function of particle size and structure, influence of support modification, as well as of the environment, i.e. ultra-vacuum or ambient conditions, onto reactivity.
The thin oxide film approach allows us to prepare and study amorphous silica as well as 2D-zeolites. Those systems, in spite of their complexity, do lend themselves to theoretical mod-elling as has been demonstrated.