Table of Contents


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

Peter Varga 1946-2018

Peter_Varga 2018-Oct-27

* With great sadness we announce that our colleague Peter Varga has passed on October 27, 2018. Peter Varga was the founder and longtime head of the Surface Physics Group at the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP), and he shaped it into one of world's leading centers of surface physics. Having retired as Professor at the TU Wien in 2011, he nevertheless remained an active member of our group and also kept contact with our friends in Brno where he had a “PostProf” position at CEITEC. His funeral took place on Monday, November 5, 2018 in Maria Enzersdorf (Romantikerfriedhof, Grenzgasse 7). The Institute of Applied Physics mourns the loss of a long-time colleague and a good friend!

Peter Varga: Obituary, Nachruf, List of Publications.

Stijn Mertens Moves to Lancaster

2018-October Stijn Mertens

Two New Group Members from China

2018-October Zhizhang WangHao Chen

Joint Project with CEITEC Brno


ÖPG Students' Award for Sabrina Mayr

2018-Sept-12 Sabrina Mayr (right) at the Awards Ceremony

FWF turns 50, and IAP members (and many friends) help celebrating

2018-Sept-8 The Materials Pavillion at FWF Be Open Festival

New Post-doc: Francesca Mirabella

2018-September-03 Francescha

Jan Balajka Defends his PhD Thesis

2018-August-31 Jan Balajka and Miquel Salmeron

The Joys of Attending Conferences

2018-August Happy at AirBnB

The Importance of Trace Impurities and how to Avoid them

2018-Aug-24 The cleanest water drop comes from an icicle

The article in ScienceAbstract with access to full text
Perspective Article by Jeong Young Park
TU Press release in English and German
Media coverage: Der StandardORF ScienceSüddeutsche ZeitungDie WeltDie ZeitSternNew Scientistphys.orgwissenschaft.dechemie.deChemistry World, U.K.ChemEuropeLive Science, U.S.A.Index, HungaryNew Scientist, U.K.Sciences Avenir, FranceBBC Mundoc&en news

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 ScienceAbstract with access to full text
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)

Archive of Previous Surface Physics News (2006-2015)