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Surface Science (SUS)


Actual course information
Up to date schedule information

Elective course MSc Chemistry

Entry requirements

BSc in Physics, Molecular Science of Technology, Chemistry, Astronomy or an equivalent degree.


Many properties of solids are strongly influenced or even determined by the behavior of the outermost atomic layers of the material, the surface. Surfaces are also key to many physical and chemical processes occurring at the interface of a material and its surroundings. For example, heterogeneous catalysis and electrochemistry rely on special surface properties of particular metals and metal oxides. Yet, surfaces form a relatively young field of research in chemistry, physics and even astronomy. In this course, we describe a wide collection of surface phenomena and surface properties, such as the geometrical structure, the electronic structure, surface phonons, surface diffusion, adsorption and desorption, phase transitions, and the relation between surface science studies and heterogeneous catalysis. Throughout the course, we pay ample attention to surface specific experimental techniques, ranging from those that provide information on surface structure and ordering of adsorbates to those that identify the elemental composition, oxidation states and molecular structure of adsorbates. Every week, one of the participants presents a paper from the recent scientific literature. The course also contains excursions to various surface science laboratories in chemistry, physics and astronomy.


At the end of the course students will have learned – basic knowledge of physical and chemical phenomena taking place at solid surfaces as outlined in the course description – how common experimental techniques that are used in modern surface science research reveal information on the surface and adsorbates
Students are capable of applying this knowledge to solve problems related to physical and chemical aspects of solid surfaces.

In addition, students learn – to digest and present a text in the field of surface science from the recent scientific literature.


Lectures, student presentations, lab excursions and home study

Toetsing Homework, presentation and a written exam




The course is based on the following books – Surface Science: Foundations of Catalysis and Nanoscience, 2nd ed., K. Kolasinski, Wiley 2008 – Surface Science: An Introduction, K. Oura, V.G. Lifshits, A.A. Saranin, A.V. Zotov, and M. Katayama, Springer 2003

In addition, various articles from the primary surface science literature will be used.

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