Table of Contents


A diary of some remarkable events in the Surface Physics group…

The Group Takes a Hike

2018-July-09 At Schneeberg

Visit from UK: Paul

2018-June Paul and Gareth at the RT

Building Bridges with Water Molecules

2018-June-27 Water, water everywhere!

The paper can be found here: “Water agglomerates on Fe3O4(001)”PNAS (2018)

and the usual brilliant write up from Florian Aigner here: TU Webpage article. It was picked up by news media der Standard, apa

Dr. Daniel Halwidl


Habilitation Martin Setvin

2018-June-13 Dozent Dr. Martin Setvin


2018-May-09 Zhiyu with his signature sign

Spring Kebap: Record Turnout

2018-April-12 Lunch in the park

Vibration Isolation Patent

2018-March-20 High-resolution microscope suspended for vibration isolation

For more information, see the TU press release (English, German), the Youtube movie, article in Der Standard or the Feature in Nature on high-performance microscopy

Visiting Professor from Chongqing, China


Two Master Theses Defended

2018-March-19 Jakob and Sebastian with Giada and Michele

Congratulations to Jakob, Sebastian, and the PLD team!

DPG - Post-deadline Talk

2018-March-14 Melissa Hines during her post-deadline talk

DPG - German Physics Society Meeting 2018

2018-March-14 Room mates for a week

Gaede-Prize for Gareth Parkinson

2018-March-13 Gareth receives the Gaede Prize


Three Group Members Placed Amongst the Top Three

2018-March-01 The Poster Presentation Winners


2018-February-12 Erasmus students from Brno

Avoiding the Polar Catastrophe

The labyrinth is the way out 2018-Feb-02

* Ionic crystals - materials that are composed of positively and negatively charged ions - can be put into a highly unfavorable situation. When split in half along certain crystallographic directions the electrostatic energy diverges. To alleviate this so-called polar catastrophe, materials can react in a variety of ways. In a recent paper, Martin Setvin and co-workers from the Surface Physics group and from the University of Vienna show the surface of a KTaO3(001) single crystal after cleaving, heating, and exposure to water vapor. Six different mechanisms to compensate polarity are encountered. One of the most pretty solutions, a nano-labyrinth with 4-5 atom-wide walls, is shown in the image on the right.

The article in Science ⋅ TU Press release in English and German
Media coverage: die PresseAPAWelt der Physik

"JSPS 141st Committee Award" for Peter Varga

Peter Varga 2017-December-4

* During the opening ceremony of the ALC'17 conference in Kauai/Hawaii today Peter Varga received the Award of the 141st Committee on Microbeam Analysis of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) for (quote) ”… his distinguished contribution on the clarification of surface phenomena by atomic level investigation and the development of novel functional materials.” Congratulations, Peter!

Mandana Joins the Group

2017-December-1 Hanging meniscus.

Lighting Up the Library

2017-November/December Library Owl with

Flora: Mysteries of Tantalate

2017-November-27 Flora with well-deserved flowers

Sabrina: Caesar of Zirconia

2017-November-23 Peter, Sabrina, and Michael.

Kardinal Innitzer Award for Gareth Parkinson

Steven, Christine, Gareth, and Elena Parkinson at the Palace of the Austrian Arch Bishop 2017-November-11

Video: Vibration Isolation for High-Resolution Microscopy

Vibration Isolation for the QPlus High-Resolution Scanning Probe Microscope 2017-October-24

Visiting Professor from Cornell

2017-October-19 Prof. Melissa Hines

Featuring Polarons: PRX and Nature Reviews

2017-October-15 Nc-AFM of 1x2

How to Sputter-Deposit Ultrathin Films

2017-October-06 Sputter source glowing

Tenure for Gareth Parkinson

2017-September-01 Gareth and his research group

Erasmus Forever!

2017-July-31 Our Erasmus students at the group outing

Habilitation for Stijn Mertens

2017-July-10 Habilitationsschrift

Matthias Müllner Gets Married

2017-July-09 Matthias Wedding Band

Zhiyu Zou for Zirconia

2017-July-08 Zhiyu Zou

Group Outing

2017-July-04 Group Hike

Promotion "sub auspiciis" for Roland Bliem

2017-May-16 Dr. Roland Bliem

TU press release (in German) der standard Tiroler Tageszeitung

Intrepid in Inclement Weather

2017-May-03 Wet at Donauinsel

Florian: A Glorious Finish and A Fresh Start

2017-April-26 Gareth, Florian, and his significant other.

Vienna March for Science

2017-April-22 The surface physics group at the March for Science

Igor Joins the Group

2017-April-4 Igor builds new sensors

Traditional Spring Kebap

 Kebap at Naschmarkt  Erasmus students trying new maneuvers


Switching Oxygen Molecules On and Off

2017-March-14 The qPlus sensor with the tip at the left

Publication in PNAS
TU Press Release in English and German
Media Coverage: APA · Der Standard · ORF · MyScience ·

Tutorial Review on Surface Defects in Bulk Oxides

2017-March-03 photo

TU Ball 2017

2017-January-26 TU Ball 2017

Degree for Iris

2017-January-18 Iris Dorner celebrates her degree

Research Funding is A-Comin'


Happy New Year!

“Boron nitride nanomesh for actuated self-assembly”, and the WWTF will fund our work on “Modeling and Design of Epitaxially Strained Nanoislands” as part of the 'Mathematics and..' initiative. We are set for a Happy New Year 2017!

Grp Goes Brno

2016-December-7 The Group in Brno

Oscar Defends his Dissertation

2016-October-21 Dr. Oscar Gamba with Gareth Parkinson

Habilitation Gareth Parkinson

Gareth Parkinson 2016-October-03

Bilge Returns to MIT

2016-August-31 Bilge and Michele

A Big Week for Roland

2016-July-29 Dr. Bliem and his new wife

We wish the beautiful couple much happiness and continued success.

The Pairing and Separation of Pt Atoms

2016-July-28 A Pt dimer at the Fe<sub>3</sub>O<sub>4</sub> surface

Original Publication
TU press release · Der Standard · Tiroler Tageszeitung

Zdenek Jakub

2016-July-16 Zdenek

Making it Stick on the Cover of Nature


The Group Bikes

2016-June-21 In Illmitz (Photo: Daniel Halwidl)

Christian Doppler Award for Roland Bliem

2016-June-17 LR Martina Berthold, Daniel Rettenwander, Roland Bliem (

Salzburger Nachrichten
Aktuelles TU Wien

Dr. Stefan Gerhold

2016-June-10 Wolf Widdra, Stefan Gerhold and Ulrike Diebold

* Stefan Gerhold successfully defends his PhD thesis entitled “Surface Reactivity and Growth of Strontium Titanate (110)”. Afterwards he celebrates with examiner Prof. Wolf Widdra, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, and advisor Ulrike Diebold.


Tech Martin, Martin Jr., and Czech Martin 2016-May-16

Visiting Prof Picks Up Local Traditions

Bilge serves champagne 2016-May-10

PRL Features 30 Years of STM (and we made the list)


Jake is Done

Jake defends his thesis 2016-April-22

Clusters, Clusters, Everywhere...

TOC 2016-April-18

Spring has Sprung

Kepab at Naschmarkt 2016-April-5

Valuable Addition from Italy

Giada transferring a sample 2016-March-14

Martin Setvin: Ertl Award Finalist

DPG Spring Meeting 2016-March

Laser MBE has Arrived

PLD, STM and RHEEd 2016-March

More on Fe3O4

Burgers and Beer 2016-March

Collaborations are Paying Off


Workshop Celebration

Workshop celebration 2016-February-29

Oleg Gives Pizza Talk

Oleg talks about his university 2016-February-19

TU Ball

The dancing part of the surface physics group 2016-January-28

How many physicists does it take...

Hard at work Physicists adsorbed on the sofas. 2016-January-26

Zbynek Novotny receives Loschmidt Prize

Zybnek Novotny (4th from left 2016-January-19

TU Webnews (in German)

Pole Dancing Water Molecules - Paper in Nature Materials

A pole dancing water molecule (Animation, click twice)


The paper
TU press release in English or German · Article in Der Standard

It's a Boy!

Martin's and Katja's Baby 2015-Dec-2

Nerd Soccer is Back

At the soccer dome 2015-Nov-5

Blaise Pascal Medal

Prof. Nick Serpone awards the metal to Ulrike Diebold 2015-Oct-28

The Value of Undergraduate Research


Paper in Angewandte

The Catalytic Cycle 2015-September-10

The paper
TU press release in English or German · "Die Presse" newspaper article

Spreading the Word...


Best Poster Award for Roland Bliem


The Hottest Week of the Year: Four Papers Accepted

Stefan, Oscar, Roland 2015-August-13

Erasmus Students from Brno

Adam, Zdenek, Michal 2015-July

Second Annual Group Outing

Group Hike 2015-July-15

Visiting Professor from MIT

Bilge 2015-July

Hertha Firnberg Award for Margareta Wagner

Margareta Wagner 2015-June-30

Youtube Video of Our Group

Joint PhD student with Ceitec

Jonas Gloss 2015-June-15

Master Student Graduates

Peter Lackner and fellow students 2015-June-10

START Prize Awarded to Gareth Parkinson

Gareth Parkinson 2015-June-08

TU press release (German)

Two New Group Members

Matthias and Michele in the Mensa 2015-March

Solar Eclipse

Michael plays his tricks 2015-March-20

Arranging Molecules in Two or Three Dimensions

Molecules on Au(111) 2015-February-22

Article in Angewandte Chemie
Article in Chemical Communications
TU press release (in German)
Media coverage: der Standard · Economy Austria · · Industriemagazin ·

Heraeus Seminar on Electrochemical Surface Science

Keynote Lecture 2015-January-18

Surface Structure of an Iron Oxide Unraveled

Magnetite crystal structure 2014-December-05

Article in Science
TU press release
Media coverage: ORF Science · Die Presse · der Standard · Salzburger Nachrichten

Bernhard Stöger Graduates


Two Awards for Ulrike

Eminent Visitor Award Scroll 2014-November-21

TU press release.

Visit from Spain


Michele goes, Honza comes

Jan and Michele


September: Conference Month


Luckily, some of us stayed home and got some work done.

Jessi Exits With a Bang

Jessi talks 2014-August-26

Bernie Pays for Beer

Bernhard with his beer 2014-August-19

A Productive Week


First Laser Deposition

Rheed Oscillations 2014-July-11


2014-July-8 Group on the Hohe Wand

One More Wedding

Bernie and Maria wedding 2014-June-28

Silver on Magnetite


Link to original publication (subscription may be required)


Platinum Catalysis 2014-June-21

Press release, TU Wien

Post-docs Move On

Zhiming and Xianfeng 2014-June

Scott Chambers Visits

Scott, Gareth, Elena, and Nukey at the Rax 2014-June-06

A Freshly-Minted Diplom Ingenieur

Daniel and the beam 2014-June-04

Anatase on the Front Page

Anatase single crystals: Small and beautiful 2014-June-02

Link to the paper

Austrian National Academy of Sciences Elects Ulrike Diebold as Full Member


List of all new ÖAW members.
der standard

Martin Gets Married

Katja and Martin 2014-Apr-26

New Engineer

2014-Apr-22 Martin Leichtfried

Breaking Bad? Big Bang Theory? Nope -- Surface Physics!

Jiri, Gareth, Benny, and Martin, posing at the machine.

Electrons Meet at Step Edges

STM image of anatase (101) after oxygen exposure


The results were published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Link to original publication · TU press release

International Students Joining Our Group

2014-March-25 Jessi, Jakub, Michele

Symposium on Surface Science, 3S

Fritz Aumayr enjoys powerful support by the surface physics group.


A Two-dimensional Electron Gas

Stefan, Bernhard and Zhiming at Bessy


The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Link to original publication
TU press release · Der Standard · die Presse

Surface Science Plays Soccer

Soccer - Austrians vs. foreigners 2014-Nov-27

Lise Meitner Lecture

Lise Meitner Lecture Flyer 2014-Nov-12

Two Visiting Professors

2013-November-05 Visiting Professors

Alex Riss is Back!

2013-October-21 Alex

COST - Vera Mansfeldova

2013-October-11 Vera

Dr. Zbynek Novotny

2013-September-3 Dr. Z

Vacancies Marching to the Top

STM image of oxygen on an anatase surface 2014-Sep-02

Abstract with link to full text
TU press releasePrinceton press releaseyoutube video
Articles in the media: Chemical & Engineering Newsder Standard (German)ORF (German)

New PhD Student

2013-Aug-1 Jan Balajka

Gareth Parkinson Wins Postdoc Competition

Winner certificate for Gareth Parkinson 2013-Jul-25

Visit by Minister Töchterle

Group photo with Minister Töchterle 2013-Jul-04

TU press release

New Post-Doc



Wittgenstein Prize for Ulrike Diebold

Press Conference with Minister Töchterle 2013-Jun-17

Press releases: FWF englishgerman

Media coverage: ORFder Standarddie PresseKurierWiener Zeitung

The Dance of the Atoms

The Fe3O4 experts at the STM 2013-Jun-10

The article in Nature Materials (subscription required)
TU press release englishgermanyoutube video

Prof. Zhiqiang Mao


Zhiqiang Mao on the roof

Gordon Research Conference


Beautiful Switzerland

Ulrike Diebold receives Adamson Award from the American Chemical Society

Adamson Medal


Adamson Award · TU press release (in German)

Stefan Gerhold Becomes PhD student


Stefan & Birgit after the defense

A Busy March


Killing time while waiting for the power outage

New PhD Student



Erasmus Students From Brno


The Brno Gang

PLD Course at TSST


delicate workblack men watching

Ilaria Valenti Visits the Group


Happy in the lab

Philipp Scheiber Defends his Thesis

2012-November-29 Philipp

New Group Members


Stijn Mertens Joins the Surface Physics Group

2012-November-01 Stijn

In Carnunto

2012-October-01 Ancient Roman Physicists

More Meetings ...


Annual Meeting of the Austrian Physical Society

2012-September-21 Discussion after Jake's talk. Those who left on Friday at Schlossberg.

The Group at ECOSS 2012 in Edinburgh

2012-September-10 ECOSS 2012.

Ulrike and Gareth Give Invited Talks


Gareth and Zbynek Visit Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

2012-August-15 Gareth, Zbynek and Juan in LBNL.

Article on Zirconia Films Selected as Editor's Suggestion


Gareth Gets FWF Funding

Iris Wins our Euro Cup Bet


Zbynek Novotny Attends Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates

Here is Z, meeting future Nobel Laureates. 2012-July-04

Click here for more information about the Lindau meetings

Annabella Selloni Visits us


Selloni's homepage

Jonas and Jan are here for the summer!

June 2012 Jonas Gloss and Jan Hulva

Ulrike Diebold elected to the Austrian Academy of Sciences


Press release of the ÖAW
Press release of the TU Wien

Ulli is being warmly welcomed into the ranks of the ÖAW:

Single Gold Atoms

STM image of gold on magnetite

Press release of the TU Wien
APS Physics article
Chemical&Engineering News article
Articles in the media: ORF Science, Wiener Zeitung, der Standard, Deutschlandradio,, nanowerk, …

ERC Advanced Grant for Ulrike Diebold

ERC logo

Press release of the TU Wien
Newspaper article in "Der Standard"
Newspaper article in "Die Presse"
Further online article

Ulrike Diebold Divisional Associate Editor of PRL

Ulrike Diebold. Photo (C): Matthias Heisler, WIT Projekt TU Wien 2012-Jan-13

New Doctoral College'SolidFun'


Post-Prof. Peter Varga

Post-Professor Peter Varga 2011-Sep-30

Ulrike on stage in the opera

Ulrike Diebold giving a plenary talk at the ECOSS-28 in Wrocław 2011-Sep-01

New research program on oxides

Research topics in the SFB 2011-Mar-15

Honorary Doctorate for Peter Varga

Conferment ceremony 2010-May-28

The dance of molecules

2010-May-14 Catechol adsorbed on TiO2

Newly appointed professor of surface science

Ulrike Diebold 2010-Jan-04

Academy of Sciences Member

Michael Schmid 2007-Dec-14

Oxide structures of catalysts disentangled

atomic structure of alumina 2007-Jul-16

Silver jubilee without silver

PRL 97, 046101 (2006) 2006-Jul-28