Universiteit Leiden

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FRESH Lecture: Surface Science of Oxides - Atomic-Scale Insights Relevant for Energy Research

  • Prof. Ulrike Diebold (TU Wien)
Thursday 29 March 2018
Gorlaeus Building
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden


Fundamental investigations into the surface properties of oxides have experienced a continued growth.  The reasons for this increasing interest are quite clear:  after all, most metals are oxidized under ambient conditions, so in many instances it is the oxidized surface that deserves our attention. In addition, metal oxides exhibit an extremely wide variability in their physical and chemical properties.  These are exploited in established and emerging technologies such as catalysis, gas sensing, and energy conversion schemes, where surfaces and interfaces play a central role in device functioning.  Hence a more complete understanding of metal oxide surfaces is desirable from both fundamental and applied points of view. 

By using Scanning Probe Microscopy measurements, in combination with Density Functional Theory calculations and area-averaging spectroscopic techniques, great strides have been made in understanding the atomic-scale properties of the surfaces of these complex materials.

In the talk I will give examples drawn from recent studies on several metal oxide systems, including TiO2, Fe3O4, In2O3, ZrO2, and perovskites.  I will point out the advantages of directly viewing, and manipulating, point defects and single molecules with atomic precision, and how inspecting central processes such as charge transfer to adsorbates can further a deep mechanistic understanding.  I will also discuss new opportunities based on recent technique development such as Scanning Force Microscopy, and the challenges and possible rewards in exploring more complex materials.

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