Ellen Backus obtained her PhD in 2005 at Leiden University in the Netherlands. After a PostDoc at the University of Zurich, she moved back to the Netherlands for an independent PostDoc position at AMOLF in Amsterdam. In 2012, she joined the Molecular Spectroscopy department at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research as a group leader. Since 2018 she is professor for physical chemistry at the University of Vienna.

Martin Buessler joined the group as a PhD student in 2019. Martin did his master’s degree in Matter and Material in extreme conditions and his Diploma of Engineer in Physics and Computer Sciences at the Polytechnic school and at the University of Orléans in France. For his PhD thesis, he is investigating the fundamental mechanisms of photo-catalytic water splitting using vibrational sum frequency generation spectroscopy.

Mirela Encheva studied at the University Miguel Hernández (Spain) where she did her bachelor in Biotechnology (2019) and her master in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (2020). In 2020 she joined our team where she performs sum frequency generation experiments to study wetting on a molecular level. In particular, she investigates responsive polymers in contact with water to understand the mutual influence that they exert on each other.

Sofie Mika is a PhD student in our group. She completed her bachelor’s degree in 2019 at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nurnberg (Germany) in the field of physical chemistry. Subsequently, she started her master studies at the University of Vienna and accomplished her master’s thesis in our group. In January 2022 she started her doctorate where she is constructing a 2D-infrared spectrometer to investigate the dynamics of water in contact with clay.

Clara M. Saak studied chemistry at ETH Zürich and later obtained her PhD in Molecular and Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Uppsala. Her PhD Thesis focused on understanding the structure of aqueous surfaces in an environmental context. To continue this line of research she joined the group in 2020 as a PostDoc and obtained a three-year fellowship in 2021 (Marie-Curie CoFund – REWIRE (https://rewire.univie.ac.at/)). Clara is currently working on cooperative surface structures and photochemistry at water surfaces using sum frequency generation spectroscopy.

At the end of 2019, Veronika Wank started her PhD in our group. Before, she stayed abroad at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and gained extensive experience with spectroscopic, surface-sensitive methods. She completed her bachelor's degree in process engineering and biotechnology at HFU Furtwangen in Germany. For her Master, she focused more on environmental engineering and afterwards joined Ellen Backus' research group at the University of Vienna. This allowed her to continue her research in the environmental field, especially in atmospheric chemistry. She currently investigates the behaviour of atmospherically relevant acids at the air-water interface with the help of sum frequency generation spectroscopy.

Moritz Zelenka studied chemistry at the University of Vienna, where he obtained both his bachelor’s and master’s degree. In 2021 he started his PhD studies in our group, where he focuses on investigating molecular structure and dynamics at solid-liquid interfaces, especially photocatalyst-water systems. He is a part of an FWF project with the name SFB TACO (https://sfb-taco.at/consortium/p11/).

Harsharan Kaur

Harsharan Kaur did her Masters (Hons.) in Biophysics from Punjab University, Chandigarh, India in the year 2015. Her master's work aimed to standardize the isolation of metal-binding protein and perform its spectrometric analysis. Later, she obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Rupnagar, Punjab, India in the year 2023. Her Ph.D. work focused on exploring the fundamentals of the interfacial molecular-level behavior of biomacromolecules and nanomaterials using non-linear vibrational spectroscopy in the context of sensing applications. To continue her research in the domain of interfacial science, she joined our research group as a Post-Doc in May 2023, where she is working on the fundamentals of photocatalytic water splitting. She is a part of the SFB-TACO project (https://sfb-taco.at/consortium/p11/)