surface science and materials discovery
The Surface Science and Materials Group at the University of Southampton is involved in broad research fields, connected though the development and application of techniques used in combination with ultrahigh vacuum technology
Model catalyst studies at single crystal surfaces are being carried out in order to better understanding the compositional and structural dependence of heterogeneous reactions at surfaces. These surfaces can range from pure metals and oxides to surface alloys oxide supported metal particles. A range of surface science tools are applied in the studies including Low Energy Electron Diffraction (LEED), Temperature Programmed Desorption (TPD) and reaction (TPR), X-ray photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Low Energy Ion Scattering (LEIS), Fourier Transform Reflection Absorption Infra-Red Spectroscopy (FT-RAIRS)and Low Temperature Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy (LT-STM). Model electrocatalysts are being investigated using ex-situ methods, and in-situ Electrochemical STM.
Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) methods have been applied to the synthesis of thin film materials and model catalysts through adaptation to produce compositional gradients through simultaneous mixing of the elements. Introduction of atomic nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen using a plasma atom source extends the materials synthesised to include not only metal and chalcogenide alloys, but nitrides, oxides and hydrides. This is combined with fast characterisation and screening methods in order to achieve a high-throughput (combinatorial) workflow for solid state materials discovery and optimisation. Silicon based micro-fabricated MEMS screening chips have been developed for the measurement of a number of properties.