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Materials Science Division

Surface Chemistry

The Surface Chemistry Group investigates ways to improve our influence over and understanding of surface species, composition, and structure at length scales that range from the atomic level to the microscale.
Idealized model of an epitaxial material stack for photoelectrochemical water oxidation. A high-resolution transmission electron microscope (TEM) image reveals the experimental β-Fe2O3(001)∥ITO(001) interface. Adapted from Emery et. al., ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2014, 6, 21894.

The Surface Chemistry Group’s  expertise includes atomic layer deposition and epitaxy, time-of-flight ion mass spectrometry, tunable laser spectroscopy, ion sputtering, optoelectronic and electrochemical characterization, and device assembly.

Directed Energy Interactions with Surfaces: Using world-class tools, this program seeks to develop a predictive understanding of the effects of directed energy sources (ions, electrons, and photons) on the composition, structure, and material properties of surfaces and other materials whose dimensions are of atomic scale. These tools, based on laser post-ionization of atoms and molecules desorbed by directed energy sources, provide the program with uniquely sensitive methods for trace analysis of surfaces and nanomaterials, and for probing particle-surface and laser-surface interactions.

Interfaces for Clean Energy Conversion: In this effort, we aim to ascertain and influence the arrangement of atoms at interfaces to develop new understandings of and pathways toward photovoltaics, solar fuels generation, and methane conversion.  While commercial solar energy conversion is growing at an exponential rate, the basic understanding of the surface chemistry and the optoelectronic processes necessary to develop affordable and sustainable solutions to world’s energy need has just begun.  We also strive to more accurately connect catalytic function with structure by fabricating large arrays of uniform few-atom clusters that are computationally tenable.


Materials Science General Inquiries


Surface Chemistry Scientific Publications

Sharing the results of research through publications supports scientific collaboration and fosters innovation.


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