Benedikt Lassalle-Kaiser

 research group

Synchrotron SOLEIL, France

Carbon dioxide is emitted in the atmosphere by human activities, leading to unprecedented changes in the Earth climate. Converting carbon dioxide into fuels or chemicals with an energy input from renewable sources is a promising strategy for industrial societies to decrease their addiction to fossil fuels and mitigate their emissions. This process is called Artificial Photosynthesis and inspires from the Natural Photosynthesis that plants have been doing for more than three billion years. 

Our research focuses on the chemical reactions that occur in artifical photosynthetic processes, with the aim to understand them and make them work better.

Electrocatalysis  •  X-ray spectroscopy   Microfluidics

Who we are

We are a small research group at the Synchrotron SOLEIL on the Paris-Saclay campus in France. We are chemists, physical chemists, physicists or engineers from international and diverse backgrounds interested in scientific questions that pertain to artificial photosynthesis. We work primarily on the LUCIA beamline of Synchrotron SOLEIL and collaborate with researchers of the field in France and the rest of the World.

Applications to join us are welcome, you can find more information on our team here.

What we care about

We care about understanding natural and artificial energy-related chemical reactions such as the oxygen evolution (OER), hydrogen evolution (HER) or carbon dioxide reduction reactions (CO2RR). These reactions all require catalysts to function at affordable energetic cost, using either electricity or sunlight as energy input. In order to understand the behaviour of these catalysts under operating conditions, we primarily use synchrotron-based X-ray spectroscopy. Our aim is to determine the chemical nature of these catalysts and their stability under functioning conditions. These information are crucial to establish structure-activity relationship, establish reaction mechanisms and improve the catalysts' efficiency.

What we do

In collaboration with research groups that are experts in catalyst design or independently, we perform electrocatalytic and spectroscopic experiments to understand the behaviour of catalysts. In order to perform these in situ or operando experiments, we develop our own instrumentation, such as electrochemical and microfluidic cells. We use mechanical engineering, 3D printing and microfabrication to develop photo-/electro-chemical cells (for both homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis) that can be operated under an X-ray beam. Using these cells, spectroscopic data are collected at synchrotrons (such as SOLEIL) under illumination or applied electrochemical potential to provide information on the local (EXAFS technique) and electronic (XANES technique) structure of catalysts during catalysis. If required, we collaborate with theoretical chemists to refine our spectroscopic analysis.