Areas of Research
Surfaces & Interfaces

Understanding the role of surfaces and interfaces is critical to 
fields as diverse as catalysis, surface physics, corrosion, nano-
science, tribology, geochemistry and electrochemistry, and energy production. Materials of interest include biomembranes, oxide films, semiconductor nanowires, metal alloys, and composites.

Research Areas

One of many grand challenges in this interdisciplinary field is to understand and control the assembly of atoms and molecules at well-defined surfaces in complex environments. In partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, faculty members are developing increasingly sophisticated X-ray methods that exploit the inherent spatial-temporal-spectral properties of Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source.

In-house methods of determining important structural information include high-resolution TEM coupled with surface analytical and computational techniques, three-dimensional, atom-probe microscopy, and an array of electron and scanning probe tools. These are located in researcher laboratories and shared facilities. Users can image individual atoms and molecules on surfaces, determine surface structures, and profile interfacial composition of conducting and non-conducting materials alike.