Prof. Ulrich Kaspar Heiz


Physical Chemistry

Academic Career and Research Areas

Prof. Heiz investigates properties of small material grains with sizes in the non-scalable size range. Here the properties are determined by the exact number of atoms. The results are used to understand nanocatalysis, asymmetric catalysis and photocatalysis. He has developed several novel experimental methods to investigate such clusters on surfaces.

After studying chemistry at the University of Bern (1987), he received his doctoral degree in Physical Chemistry (1991). With scholarships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Swiss National Science Foundation, Heiz conducted research at ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Company and at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. He then habilitated in Physics at the University of Lausanne in 1998. This was followed by stays abroad in Japan and Berlin (Alexander von Humboldt Fellow) until he was appointed to the University of Ulm in 2000. Since 2004 he has been professor of Physical Chemistry at TUM. He declined several appointments at foreign universities (e.g. UC Berkeley, Georgia Tech, USA). 


  • Speaker of the Cluster of Excellence e-conversion (2018)
  • Member of the Chemistry Forum of the DFG (2013)
  • ERC Advanced Grant (2010)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Committee Member (2006)
  • Andrew Mellon Fellow (1992)

Kaiser, S; Plansky, J; Krinninger, M; Shavorskiy, A; Zhu, S; Heiz, U; Esch, F; Lechner, BAJ: Does Cluster Encapsulation Inhibit Sintering? Stabilization of Size-Selected Pt Clusters on Fe3O4(001) by SMSI”. ACS Catalysis. 2023; 13(9): 6203-6213.


Levin, N; Lengyel, J; Eckhard, JF; Tschurl, M; Heiz, U: “Catalytic Non-Oxidative Coupling of Methane on Ta8O2+”. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2020.142(12), 5862-5869.


Nesselberger, M; Roefzaad, M; Fayçal HR.; Biedermann, UP.; Schweinberger, FF.; Kunz, S; Schloegl, K; Wiberg, GKH; Ashton, S; Heiz, U; Mayrhofer, KJJ; Arenz, M: "The effect of particle proximity on the oxygen reduction rate of size-selected platinum clusters." Nature Materials. 2013; 12: 919-924.


Mortaheb, F; Oberhofer, K; Riemensberger, J; Ristow, F; Kienberger, R; Heiz, U; Iglev, H; Kartouzian, A: “Enantiospecific Desorption Triggered by Circularly Polarized Light”. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 2019; 58(44), 2019, 15685-15689.


Yoon, B; Haekkinen, H; Landman, U; Woerz, AS.; Antonietti, JM; Abbet, S; Judai, K; Heiz, U: "Charging Effects on Bonding and Catalyzed Oxidation of CO on Au8 Clusters on MgO"Science. 2005; 307 (5708): 403-407.