Teaching and study
The Professorship of Electrobiotechnology offers a variety of different lectures and research practicals. The range of lecture courses can change from semester to semester. Therefore, attention should be paid to the current offer.
The aim of our teaching is to convey an understanding of the possibilities and challenges in the field of electrobiotechnology. To this end, basic interrelationships in electrochemical systems must first be understood in order to subsequently be able to transfer them to those with biological components. Therefore, the range of courses extends from basic lectures such as “Physical Chemistry” and “Electrochemistry I” to the advanced course “Electrobiotechnology” in the Master’s programme.
In the field of physical chemistry, the basics of the kinetics and thermodynamics of chemical reactions are taught, which are transferred to heterogeneous processes at interfaces in electrochemistry. These basics explain the signals of electrochemical measurements. In the later course, the previously taught concepts are transferred to (bio)catalytic electrodes, enabling an understanding of the functioning of bioelectrochemical sensors, fuel cells and solar cells.
To participate in the courses, you need to register on TUMonline (login required), where you will also find further information on the offered courses.
Detailed information on the study and course programme can be found in the overview of study programmes in Straubing.
In the lecture, the basics of chemical thermodynamics are discussed. This includes the main laws of thermodynamics, different forms of energy (U, H, G, S), as well as their relationships. In addition, terms such as chemical equilibrium and chemical reaction are explained and described with mathematical formulae. Based on this, not only the physicochemical properties of gases but also the various phase transitions of pure substances and multiphase systems are analysed. Finally, more complex relationships such as two-component systems, selected interfacial phenomena and the basics of reaction kinetics will be discussed.
Einführung in die Elektrochemie
This basic lecture on electrochemistry is introduced by the basic concepts of electrochemistry, such as electrochemical thermodynamics (electrochemical potential, electrode potential, Nernst equation) and electrochemical kinetics to describe what constitutes an electrochemical process. Furthermore, influencing factors such as transport in solutions (migration, diffusion and convection) and the thermodynamics of interfaces (the electrochemical double layer) are explained. Based on this, the experimental set-up and the general concept of electrochemical measurements are discussed. The functional principle of a potentiostat (structure, function and application) is indispensable for this.
Once these basics have been established, more complex measuring methods are explained. These include stationary voltammetry with chronoamperometry, linear and cyclic voltammetry on macro- and microelectrodes for the determination of thermodynamic and kinetic parameters. Finally, the mechanisms of coupled homogeneous reactions for energy conversion and electrosynthesis are considered with corresponding examples from science and research.
This course, which builds on the lecture “Einführung in die Elektrochemie”, deals in depth with the influencing factors, analysis and application of electrochemistry. Initially, the focus will be on interfacial phenomena. This includes the electrochemistry of surface-bound species and the different cases that can be distinguished (Langmuir isotherm, Frumkin isotherm and the Laviron formalism). From there, the field of local electrochemistry and thus electrochemistry at microelectrodes and scanning electrochemical microscopy is entered. Electrochemical signals can be measured even at even smaller scales in the nanometre range. In particular, nanoparticle-modified electrodes and single nanoparticle electrochemistry are examples of the impressive sensitivity of electrochemical measurements. In this context, mass transport and kinetics at heterogeneous electrodes need to be discussed.
From this microscopic perspective on electrochemistry, we move to the large field of electrocatalysis with the theory and practical aspects of molecular electrochemistry and heterogeneous electrocatalysis. For the analysis of such systems classical methods like DEMS, ICP-MS, FTIR, Raman etc. have to be covered. After the applications of electrocatalysis (CO2, O2, H2) the possibilities to combine electrochemistry and spectroscopy are explained. Different couplings of EPR, UV-Vis, IR, Raman spectroscopy in spectro-electrochemistry are conceivable.
The lecture is concluded with electropolymerisation and conducting polymers, as well as the correlation between optical properties, energy levels and the redox potential.
“Basic Organic Chemistry” is a foundational course that provides an overview of the principles and concepts governing the structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds. The course covers topics such as the structure of organic molecules, nomenclature, functional groups, isomerism, and basic reaction mechanisms. Students explore the fundamental principles that govern organic chemistry, including bonding, stereochemistry, and the relationship between structure and reactivity. Additionally, the course often introduces the synthesis of organic compounds, giving students a basic understanding of the methods used in organic chemistry laboratories. Overall, the course serves as a crucial introduction for students pursuing further advanced courses in chemistry, biochemistry, or related fields.
After a short review of the basics of electrochemistry (see “Introduction to electrochemistry”). Different methods of steady-state voltammetry are discussed in depth. In particular, the most commonly used methods of chronoamperometry and linear as well as cyclic voltammetry are of importance here. These methods provide information about the kinetics and thermodynamics, but only if certain preconditions are fulfilled. These can often be satisfied by forced convection, which will be discussed in the third part of this lecture series. These include techniques such as the flow cell, the rotating disk electrode and the rotating ring disk electrode.
Finally, a method of AC electrochemistry is presented, the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. This makes use of an oscillating voltage, but requires complicated acquisition, modelling, analysis and interpretation. This and its advantages are discussed at length to learn when this method should be used.
The course on electrobiotechnology deals with the current state of electrochemical systems with biological components, especially with the effective coupling of biological components to the abiological surface of the electrode. Initially, methods of mediated electron transfer in solution and the electrochemistry of absorbed eznymatic monolayers are discussed. Then redox-active polymer films are introduced and how they can be characterised before final use in an electrochemical cell. Based on this, the electrical signal of electrodes with catalytic enzyme-polymer films is discussed. These can be analysed using multidimensional case diagrams.
The further analysis of enzyme-polymer films deals with the inhomogeneities concerning especially the distribution of the film thickness, which can be determined by simple electrochemical methods and modulation of the measurement. This method can be extended to the sizing of ITO pores. Finally, the impressive property of polymer films to serve as protection of the embedded enzymes from oxygen will be considered.
At the end of the lecture, applications of electrobiochemical systems in biophotoelectrochemistry will be shown, from enzymatic to microbial biophotoelectrodes. Furthermore, examples of microbial fuel cells and the direct reduction of CO2 to valuable end products are discussed.
Seminar Enzymes in Biotechnology
In this seminar, methods for modern literature research will be taught, including digital literature databases such as SciFinder and GoogleScholar. Even though these digital databases greatly facilitate the pure search for sources, they lead to a large number of possible sources that must be analysed and sorted according to efficient patterns in order not to get lost in the sheer volume of literature. In particular, it is necessary to quickly evaluate the value of a source for one’s own research question and also to recognise the high value of a structured presentation from the introduction to the summary. Especially the design of illustrations that reflect the presented research results are of high importance for the reader.
In addition to the pure literature research, the process of publication should be brought closer. This concerns not only the writing of a scientific paper but also the submission and the peer-review process of the journals.
All this will be done in the light of bioelectrochemistry and will include known peer-reviewed journals in this research field, as well as the technical terms that are necessary to understand those publications. In addition, the current state of research in this highly interdisciplinary field will be discussed in parallel.