The research group of Barbara Lechner investigates the dynamic restructuring of functional nanomaterials under realistic conditions, e.g. model catalysts under a reactive gas atmosphere. To this purpose, they place a scanning tunneling microscope with high temporal and spatial resolution directly into gas mixtures and thus investigate how the structure of particles (metal clusters) and oxide supports changes under these conditions. By using small clusters with a precisely defined number of atoms, it is possible to investigate how the formation and decay of highly reactive particle structures occurs, can be controlled and how such structural changes influence the function of a material.
Prof. Lechner studied Chemistry at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, where she obtained her M. Sc. degree in 2008. She pursued her Ph.D. studies in Physics at the University of Cambridge, UK. As a postdoctoral fellow, she joined the group of Prof. Miquel Salmeron at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA, and later, in 2016, she became a group leader at the Chair of Physical Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich. In October 2020, Lechner was appointed Rudolf Mößbauer Professor at TUM, leading a research group in functional nanomaterials.