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

The Group Takes a Hike

2018-July-09 At Schneeberg

  • Now it is seriously a tradition: for our 5th Annual Group Outing we take public transport to Puchberg/Schneeberg and hike up to the Edelweisshütte. After a hearty lunch, some more hiking, and a relaxed coffee break, we return to Vienna: full of fresh air, tired, yet with a feeling of great accomplishment. Once again, Michael proofed to be a most fabulous tour guide.

Visit from UK: Paul

2018-June Paul and Gareth at the RT

  • Paul Ryan from Imperial College London and Diamond Light Source, UK, visits for a few months. He is working with Gareth on the single-atom catalysis project.

Building Bridges with Water Molecules

2018-June-27 Water, water everywhere!

  • Our paper about water adsorption on Fe3O4(001) has been published in PNAS. We are particularly proud of this work it was a very complex problem and it took the best of our capabilities in imaging, spectroscopy and theory to unravel. In the picture you see on of the structures formed in which water molecules adsorb on the surface Fe cations, with additional molecules bridging the gaps in a periodic fashion. Congratulations to all involved!

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


  • Daniel Halwidl successfully defends his PhD thesis entitled “Surface Science Investigations on Single-Crystalline Ruthenates”. In the photo he poses with dissertation advisor Ulrike Diebold, co-advisor Michael Schmid, and external examiner Prof. Niklas Nilius from the University of Oldenburg. Congratulations!

Habilitation Martin Setvin

2018-June-13 Dozent Dr. Martin Setvin

  • Martin Setvin successfully defends his habilitation thesis. Soon he will receive the 'venia legendi', the right to teach and to independently supervise bachelor, master, and PhD theses at TU Wien. Congratulations!


2018-May-09 Zhiyu with his signature sign

  • In order to achieve excellent ultrahigh vacuum, a bakeout of the vacuum chamber is required that can last up several days. Sometimes this makes the security personnel in our building nervous. To prevent them from raising alarm, and calling us – typically in the middle of the night on weekends – Zhiyu designs this most helpful sign.

Spring Kebap: Record Turnout

2018-April-12 Lunch in the park

  • Spring is finally here. Following our annual tradition, we take advantage of one of the first warm days to storm our favorite kebap stand at Naschmarkt. Everyone comes along to hang out at the park and eat.

Vibration Isolation Patent

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

  • The Surface Physics Group has patented a device for suspending a load in a vibration-insulated manner, designed for high-resolution microscopy and nanotechnology. While other similar instruments are usually placed in the basement of a building in a quiet environment, the low-temperature non-contact AFM/STM at the IAP/TU Wien suspended according to the invention delivers excellent performance in spite of its place in the 5th floor of a building in downtown Vienna! The patented vibration isolation system also features accurate levelling even under changing load distribution during operation.

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


  • Professor Jian Xu (徐健) from the Dept. of Metallurgical Engineering, Chongqing University, joins our surface physics group. Jian will stay with us for one year to get his fingers dirty with UHV-based surface science experiments. A warm welcome!

Two Master Theses Defended

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

  • Jakob Hofinger and Sebastian Moser both pass their final exam. Their masters theses dealt with PLD growth of In2O3 and SrTiO3, respectively, and in both cases Michele and Giada were a big help.

Congratulations to Jakob, Sebastian, and the PLD team!

DPG - Post-deadline Talk

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

  • Melissa Hines comes all the way from the US to give a super-entertaining talk in front of a fully-packed auditorium during the post-deadline session at the DPG Meeting in Berlin.

DPG - German Physics Society Meeting 2018

2018-March-14 Room mates for a week

  • The surface physics group has a strong presence at this year's Spring Meeting of the DPG in Berlin. We report on our research results in 3 invited talks, 11 contributed talks, and 2 posters. In order to make the trip affordable, some of us bunk up in big flat.

Gaede-Prize for Gareth Parkinson

2018-March-13 Gareth receives the Gaede Prize

  • Gareth Parkinson is awareded the Gaede Prize at the Spring Meeting of the German Physical Society in Berlin, Germany. This prize is given out annually to a young scientist who has made outstanding contributions to the field of vacuum science and technology.


Three Group Members Placed Amongst the Top Three

2018-March-01 The Poster Presentation Winners

  • As in previous years the poster introduction session was a special highlight at the Symposium of Surface Science, 3S'18. Based on the creative and entertaining way they presented their scientific results, Honza, Matthias, and Roland scored top points.


2018-February-12 Erasmus students from Brno

  • Each year we have the pleasure to host students from TU Brno/CEITEC. David Pokorný, Jakub Urbiš, Tomáš Krajňák, Martin Mikula, and Juraj Bobek have arrived in our lab. We very much look forward to working with our new friends.

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.

  • Mandana Azmi starts her appointment at IAP. She will pursue her PhD in electrochemical surface science under the guidance of Stijn Mertens.

Lighting Up the Library

2017-November/December Library Owl with

  • The TU library is celebrating its 30th anniversary. As part of the festivities, some stunning research results are projected onto the big owl that adorns the corner of the library building. The nice work by Stijn Mertens et al. on electrochemical switching of friction was chosen as one of the show cases.

Flora: Mysteries of Tantalate

2017-November-27 Flora with well-deserved flowers

  • Second successfully-defended Masters thesis this month: Flora Poelzleitner worked on “Polarity compensation on KTaO3(001) surfaces”. Her research results were included in our paper on the polar catastrophe, see the news entry above.

Sabrina: Caesar of Zirconia

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

  • Sabrina Mayr successfully defends her Master's thesis on “Studies of Few-Monolayer Zirconia Films and Metal Nucleation on Zirconia Surfaces”. The group and her family celebrate the happy occasion and, in best Italian tradition, place the well-earned laurel wreath on her head.

Kardinal Innitzer Award for Gareth Parkinson

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

  • For his outstanding habilitation thesis, Gareth Parkinson is awarded the 'Förderpreis' of the Kardinal Innitzer Studienstiftung. The award ceremony took place at the formidable Episcopal Palace, located in the center of Vienna. Gareth's family came all the way from England to celebrate.

Video: Vibration Isolation for High-Resolution Microscopy

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

  • How to achieve scanning probe microscopy with sub-picometer resolution in the 5th floor of a building in busy downtown Vienna? The Surface Physics Group has devised a solution by suspending the machine from a frame or the ceiling, with highly accurate levelling and a performance that rivals very expensive active vibration control systems, at much lower cost (patent pending). Watch the Youtube movie.

Visiting Professor from Cornell

2017-October-19 Prof. Melissa Hines

  • Prof. Melissa Hines of Cornell University, USA is staying with us this fall. Melissa is a renowned surface chemist and, amongst other things, she is interested in TiO2. We warmly welcome her and wish her - in fact, all of us - a productive stay.

Featuring Polarons: PRX and Nature Reviews

2017-October-15 Nc-AFM of 1x2

  • For a long time the (1×2) reconstruction of one of our favorite materials - rutile TiO2(110) - has puzzled us, and many of our colleagues world-wide. Based on Martin Setvin's beautiful STM/AFM results, our DFT friends at the University of Vienna have figured out that polarons are of essence. Our paper, which appeared in PRX earlier this month, has caught the eye of one of the editors of Nature Reviews.

How to Sputter-Deposit Ultrathin Films

2017-October-06 Sputter source glowing

  • In surface science it is essential to cleanly grow ultrathin films with a carefully-controlled thickness of less than one monolayer. For some materials (zirconium, say), this is difficult: Even though the melting point is exceedingly high, the vapor pressure is low. To circumvent this problem we have refined a UHV-compatible sputter deposition source. Read here how our source works and how well it performs.

Tenure for Gareth Parkinson

2017-September-01 Gareth and his research group

  • We are extremely pleased to learn that Gareth Parkinson has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. He will continue his highly-successful research into the surface science of heterogeneous catalysis together with his growing surface physics subgroup focused on iron oxides.

Erasmus Forever!

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

  • This year our group hosted again three Erasmus students from TU Brno/CEITEC. As always, it was an extremely pleasant and productive experience for us: Michal Andrýsek worked on the growth of metastable ferromagnetic iron layers, and Tomáš Axman and Mojmír Komora designed and tested a high-pressure cell and a UHV-compatible liquid doser, respectively.

Habilitation for Stijn Mertens

2017-July-10 Habilitationsschrift

  • Stijn Mertens successfully defends his habilitation thesis. This is the last step towards receiving the venia legendi, the right to teach and to officially supervise graduate students at TU Wien. Congrats, Stijn!

Matthias Müllner Gets Married

2017-July-09 Matthias Wedding Band

  • We extend our warmest congratulations to Matthias and Tini, who tied the knot this weekend, and we wish them a great honeymoon trip together with their daughter Sophie.

Zhiyu Zou for Zirconia

2017-July-08 Zhiyu Zou

  • We welcome a new post-doc, Zhiyu Zou, to our group. Zhiyu comes from Trieste, where he worked on graphene-based systems. At TU Wien, he will strengthen our efforts to better understand the fundamental surface properties and chemistry of zirconia.

Group Outing

2017-July-04 Group Hike

  • Now it is seriously a tradition: July has arrived and we need to get out of the city for some fresh air and exercise. Our 4th Annual Group Outing brings us to Payerbach, where we hike in the beautiful mountain area of Lower Austria.

Promotion "sub auspiciis" for Roland Bliem

2017-May-16 Dr. Roland Bliem

  • Roland Bliem graduates with a "promotio sub auspiciis praesidentis rei publicae"”. This honour is based on top academic performance and is awarded to only a handful of PhD students in the whole country. With a GPA of 1.0 (the best grade on Austria's 5-point scale) from high school all the way through his studies at the university, Roland is one of the selected few. A big day for Roland, the institute, and the surface physics group.

TU press release (in German) der standard Tiroler Tageszeitung

Intrepid in Inclement Weather

2017-May-03 Wet at Donauinsel

  • We decide that a barbecue at Donauinsel might be a good idea. Martin Setvin reserves a Grillplatz and brings coal and his young family. It rains a bit. Nevertheless everyone comes out, and we are having a great time.

Florian: A Glorious Finish and A Fresh Start

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

  • Florian Kraushofer successfully defends his Masters thesis, and he has already landed a job: on Monday he will start as a PhD student with Gareth.

Vienna March for Science

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

  • On April 22, people around the world gather to support science and to acknowledge the critical role it plays in each of our lives. Members of the surface physics group & friends do their share by joining the Vienna March for Science.

Igor Joins the Group

2017-April-4 Igor builds new sensors

  • Igor Sokolović has decided to pursue his PhD degree with us. He is supported by the doctoral programme Solids4Fun and will work with Martin Setvin on our new q+ AFM. Here you can see him getting his fingers dirty (well, not in the literal sense) while building sensors for the microscope.

Traditional Spring Kebap

 Kebap at Naschmarkt  Erasmus students trying new maneuvers


  • Earlier than usual, spring has arrived this year. Temperatures will reach 25°C here in Vienna on the weekend, so we hurry to eat our traditional spring kebap before summer arrives. Our Erasmus students from Brno university meanwhile relax while driving their new car.

Switching Oxygen Molecules On and Off

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

  • The oxygen molecule O2 is chemically inert (except at high temperatures), but becomes reactive when an additional electron gets added. This process happens in biology, catalysis and can be also triggered by light on some surfaces. Martin Setvin of the Surface Physics Group managed to switch oxygen molecules adsorbed at a titanium dioxide surface back and forth between the non-reactive (neutral) and reactive (O2-) state and examine them in detail using non-contact atomic-force microscopy (nc-AFM) with the tiny tip of a so-called qPlus sensor (image). The results were published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS).

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

Tutorial Review on Surface Defects in Bulk Oxides

2017-March-03 photo

  • Some of us write a tutorial review on surface defects on bulk oxides, and how to characterize them with atomically-resolved Scanning Probe Microscopy. The article will be published in the journal Chem. Soc. Rev. Here you see a photo of the authors. (Taking the photo was a bit difficult, as co-author Margareta Wagner is spending a year at the Steinrück group in Erlangen, Nürnberg. With a little help from skype we manage nevertheless.)

TU Ball 2017

2017-January-26 TU Ball 2017

  • Every year our university celebrates its traditional ball at the Hofburg palace. The surface physics group participated enthusiastically, and met up with friends, colleagues, and visitors.

Degree for Iris

2017-January-18 Iris Dorner celebrates her degree

  • Today Iris Dorner finished her Masters studies. In her masters thesis, she helped us to improve our EC-STM, and here we help her celebrate her degree. Congratulations!

Research Funding is A-Comin'


Happy New Year!

  • In recent weeks, several of our research proposals were approved for funding: The group is part of the consortium of the H2020 project A-LEAF (“An Artifical Leaf: A Photo-electro-catalytic Cell From Earth-Abundant Materials for Sustainable Solar Production of CO2-based Chemicals and Fuels”). In a joint Belgian/Austrian Research Project, Stijn Mertens & friends will investigate the

“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

  • A division of TU surface physicists heads out to Brno to inspect the new lab facilities at CEITEC, discuss possible future collaborations, and taste local beers.

Oscar Defends his Dissertation

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

  • Oscar Gamba, who worked with Gareth for several years, receives his Ph.D. degree Thanks to his research, we now understand the surface chemistry of magnetite much better.

Habilitation Gareth Parkinson

Gareth Parkinson 2016-October-03

  • Gareth Parkinson successfully defends his habilitation and our institute gains a newly-minted 'Dozent'. Congratulations!

Bilge Returns to MIT

2016-August-31 Bilge and Michele

  • Prof. Bilge Yildiz is saying good bye with a nice farewell party. She has been visiting with us for a good (in fact: very good) year. We are sad to see her leave, but have many ideas for continued and future collaborations. Also, Roland will be joining her soon at MIT.

A Big Week for Roland

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

  • Roland Bliem defends his PhD thesis entitled “Single Metal Adatoms at the Reconstructed Fe3O4(001) Surface”. His paper on Pt dimers appears in PNAS – see the next entry. Most importantly, he just got married!

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

  • Sintering - the aggregation of catalytically active, metallic nanoparticles into bigger clumps - is one of the major causes of catalyst de-activation. This is particularly important in the emerging field of single-atom catalysis, the main research topic of the START project of Gareth Parkinson. A detailed STM and DFT study, mainly conducted by Roland Bliem, and published in PNAS, shows how single Pt atoms on the Fe3O4(001) surface are made mobile by CO, and how they merge into bigger clusters. Interestingly, the smallest cluster, a Pt dimer, is stabilized by the CO molecules. When the sample is heated, and the CO desorbs, and the two Pt atoms separate again.

Original Publication
TU press release · Der Standard · Tiroler Tageszeitung

Zdenek Jakub

2016-July-16 Zdenek

  • Zdenek Jakub joins the group as new a PhD student. He is no stranger to us, though: Zdenek studied at the TU Brno and already worked with us as an Erasmus student and during his Masters thesis. We are very happy that he joined us now officially!

Making it Stick on the Cover of Nature


  • The article "Switching stiction and adhesion of a liquid on a solid" by Stijn Mertens et al. is featured on this week's cover of Nature Magazine. The work describes dynamic contact angle measurements of a single drop of 0.1 M HClO4 on a single layer of BN supported on Rh(111). Friction can be changed reversibly by applying an appropriate electrochemical potential that leads to the intercalation of H between BN and the Rh.

The Group Bikes

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

  • This year, our annual group outing brings us to the beautiful area around Neusiedlersee. We bike a lot (some of us even more than others), quench the resulting thirst, taste local foods, hang out in the shade, and a few brave people even go swimming in the lake. Overall, everyone was having a good time.

Christian Doppler Award for Roland Bliem

2016-June-17 LR Martina Berthold, Daniel Rettenwander, Roland Bliem (http://service.salzburg.gv.at/lkorrj/Index?cmd=detail_ind&nachrid=56686)

  • Roland Bliem, a PhD student in our group, has received the Christian-Doppler-Preis 2015 in the category Physics for his work on metal adsorption on the magnetite (001) surface. The Christian-Doppler-Preis is the science award of Roland's home province Salzburg, awarded biennially to researchers under 40 years of age. It is named after the famous physicist Christian Doppler who was born in Salzburg in 1803.

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

  • Martin Calkovsky (center) from Brno University of Technology joins us as an Erasmus student for one semester. In order to tell him apart from 'Tech Martin' (left) and 'Czech Martin' (right) we decide to affectionately call him 'Martin Jr.'

Visiting Prof Picks Up Local Traditions

Bilge serves champagne 2016-May-10

  • Bilge Yildiz, our visiting professor, has learned that her latest research results have been accepted for publication in Nature Materials. As is customary in our group, this happy news deserves some serious celebration. Abhorred by the idea of warm champagne, we are quick (perhaps a bit too quick) to help out with a little lN2. The resulting, somewhat unorthodox, state of matter of the celebratory beverage does not prevent us from partying on, with Bilge's group partaking per skype.

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


Jake is Done

Jake defends his thesis 2016-April-22

  • Jong Il Jake Choi successfully defends his PhD thesis entitled “Studies of Zirconia Surfaces On the Atomic Scale”. Congratulations, Dr. Choi!

Clusters, Clusters, Everywhere...

TOC 2016-April-18

  • Our comprehensive study of metal adatoms and clusters on ultrathin zirconia films is accepted for publication in the Journal of Physics C.

Spring has Sprung

Kepab at Naschmarkt 2016-April-5

  • First nice day of the year. Following our tradition we venture out to Naschmarkt, where we greet the season with a kebap lunch.

Valuable Addition from Italy

Giada transferring a sample 2016-March-14

  • Giada Franceschi, a physics student from Polimi in Milano joins us for a 6 months. She is working on her Masters thesis, performing growth and surface experiments using our Laser MBE.

Martin Setvin: Ertl Award Finalist

DPG Spring Meeting 2016-March

  • The surface physics group shows a strong presence at this year's Spring Meeting of the German Physics Society in Regensburg, Germany. Most prominently, Martin Setvin is selected as a finalist for the Gerhard Ertl Young Investigator Award, and gives a brilliant talk summarizing his research on fundamental photocatalytic processes. Well done, Martin!

Laser MBE has Arrived

PLD, STM and RHEEd 2016-March

  • The first paper reporting results from our Laser MBE setup will appear soon: Stefan Gerhold et al., “Adjusting Island Density and Morphology of the SrTiO3(110)-(4×1) Surface: Pulsed Laser Deposition Combined with Scanning Tunneling Microscopy” shows what happens during the very initial stages of homoepitaxial growth. Our new toy works well and more exciting results are in the works. Stay posted!

More on Fe3O4

Burgers and Beer 2016-March

  • The manuscript “Fe3O4(110)-(1×3) Revisited: Periodic (111) Nano-Facets” by Gareth Parkinson et al. will appear as a Letter in the journal Surface Science. We celebrate with beer and 'burgers.

Collaborations are Paying Off


  • We happily report that four manuscripts have been accepted recently. Each paper has resulted from an extended collaboration. The one entitled “Interplay between steps and oxygen vacancies on curved TiO2(110)” by L. Alejandro Miccio et al., will appear in the journal Nanoletters. Former Post-doc Zhiming Wang is the first author of “Itinerant polaronic carriers in a SrTiO3-based two-dimensional electron gas”, to appear in Nature Materials, and of “Transition from Tetrahedral to Octahedral Coordination for High TiO2 Coverages of the (110) Surface of Strontium Titanate”, which is accepted for publication in Nanoletters. The group of Juan de la Figuera was leading the collaboration on “Co on Fe3O4(001): Towards precise control of surface properties”, published in The Journal of Chemical Physics. Congratulations to all co-authors!

Workshop Celebration

Workshop celebration 2016-February-29

  • Our excellent technicians help Michael with realizing his ingenious ideas. We warmly thank Rainer, Martin, Herbert, and Marie, and we eat lots of cake.

Oleg Gives Pizza Talk

Oleg talks about his university 2016-February-19

  • Our visitor from the prestigious Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Oleg Feya, gives one of our pizza talks. He entertains us with stories about the founding fathers of his university, and explains how the program package USPEX can be used to predict structures.

TU Ball

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

  • Each year our university celebrates its traditional ball in the fabulous Hofburg Palace. Some of us dress up in our finest and go out for a few elegant rounds of Viennese waltz. We meet up and, after a while, we also spot Jiri and his dancing partner prancing through the halls.

How many physicists does it take...

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

  • … to assemble an Ikea sofa?

Zbynek Novotny receives Loschmidt Prize

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

  • Dr. Zbynek Novotny is one of two recipients of this year's Loschmidt Prize. This prize is awarded annually by the Austrian Chemical Physics Society for an outstanding PhD thesis. Zbynek received his doctorate in 2013 under the guidance of Prof. Ulrike Diebold; his thesis is entitled “The Fe3O4 Surface as an Adsorption Template”. He is currently a post-doc the Pacific Northwest National Lab in Washington State, U.S. Congratulations, Z!

TU Webnews (in German)

Pole Dancing Water Molecules - Paper in Nature Materials

A pole dancing water molecule (Animation, click twice)


  • Our research on strontium ruthenate surfaces shows how water dissociates and strips off one hydrogen atom upon adsorption. Although the hydrogen atom and the remaining OH group are physically separated, the pieces continue to interact through a weak hydrogen bond. This interaction leads to an interesting dynamic behavior, where the OH group circles the stripped off hydrogen atom. The result were published in Nature Materials. Click twice on the gif file on the right and watch the water dance.

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

  • Martin Setvin and his wife Katja proudly announce the birth of their first baby.

Nerd Soccer is Back

At the soccer dome 2015-Nov-5

  • We are playing soccer again. With support from chemistry it is even more fun.

Blaise Pascal Medal

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

  • The European Academy of Sciences established the Blaise Pascal Medal in 2003 to recognize an outstanding and demonstrated personal contribution to science and technology and the promotion of excellence in research and education. Up to six medals may be awarded in any one year. This year Ulrike Diebold was honored with the Blaise Pascal Metal in Materials Science.

The Value of Undergraduate Research


  • With the start of the new semester, the Austrian newspaper "Die Presse" published an article on students doing research. Matthias Poglitsch described how he liked working with us during his bachelor thesis (in German).

Paper in Angewandte

The Catalytic Cycle 2015-September-10

  • Our “magnetite subgroup” around Gareth Parkinson and Roland Bliem, with the help of our guest Jessi van der Hoeven from Utrecht, could nicely show how a prototype catalytic reaction works. They find that CO oxidation on their model catalyst, tiny platinum clusters on magnetite, eats the oxygen from the magnetite support, and platinum helps to oxidize the support again. They could also investigate in detail what happens if hydrogen is oxidized with the help of the catalyst. These results provide the groundwork to improve catalysts and got published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

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

Spreading the Word...


Best Poster Award for Roland Bliem


  • Roland Bliem attends the Suncat Summer School at Stanford and wins a best poster award. Congratulations!

The Hottest Week of the Year: Four Papers Accepted

Stefan, Oscar, Roland 2015-August-13

  • This week, no less than four papers were accepted for publication in various journals. The picture shows our first authors: Stefan Gerhold's paper on NiO on SrTiO3(110) was accepted in J. Phys. Chem. C, and so was Oscar's paper on formic acid on Fe3O4. Roland's work on the adsorption and incorporation of transition metals in magnetite was accepted in Phys. Rev. B. Another paper, on imaging TiO2(110) in aqueous solution with STM, spearheaded our collaborators in Rome, was accepted in Advanced Materials Interfaces. Also, the weather has been really hot. Time for some beer!

Erasmus Students from Brno

Adam, Zdenek, Michal 2015-July

  • Three students from Brno have been with us since February. Adam Zavodny took many interesting STM images of single adatoms on Fe3O4, Zdenek Jakub helped with our electrochemistry setups, and Michal Horky grew fcc-stabilized Fe films. It has been a pleasure and privilege working with them.

Second Annual Group Outing

Group Hike 2015-July-15

  • This year, we hike in the Wienerwald. We conquer the Anninger, stop at Ruine Mödling, and relax in Peter Varga's house in Maria Enzersdorf with lots of cold drinks.

Visiting Professor from MIT

Bilge 2015-July

Hertha Firnberg Award for Margareta Wagner

Margareta Wagner 2015-June-30

  • Margareta Wagner received a Hertha Firnberg Award for her research programme “Organic Molecules on Transparent Conductive Oxides: Fundamental studies”. The Hertha Firnberg programme of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) aims at boosting the career of extremely well qualified female scientists.

Youtube Video of Our Group

  • Watch this Youtube video provided by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), showing an interview with Ulrike Diebold (in German) and scenes from our labs. Seems we are quite a photogenic group!

Joint PhD student with Ceitec

Jonas Gloss 2015-June-15

  • Jonas Gloss joins the group as a PhD student. He is working with Peter Varga and researchers from Ceitec in Brno on producing magnetic metamaterials with focused ion beams.

Master Student Graduates

Peter Lackner and fellow students 2015-June-10

  • Peter Lackner successfully passes his final exam. His masters thesis deals with adsorption on In2O3(111) surfaces. Here he treats us to home-made cake. Peter will continue working with us as a PhD student.

START Prize Awarded to Gareth Parkinson

Gareth Parkinson 2015-June-08

  • Gareth Parkinson of the Surface Physics Group has received the START Prize, the highest Austrian award for outstanding young researchers. Congratulations! The prize money will enable him to pursue research on single-atom catalysis during the next six years. We have now two START awardees and one Wittgenstein and ERC Advanced Grant laureate in our group, almost the highest density of these prizes anywhere!

TU press release (German)

Two New Group Members

Matthias and Michele in the Mensa 2015-March

  • Matthias Müllner joins as a PhD student and Michele Riva, who visited with us from the Politecnico Milano previously, returned as post-doc. Matthias will work on our electrochemistry project, and Michele on the oxide PLD. Here the two of them are captured during our daily lunch in the Mensa.

Solar Eclipse

Michael plays his tricks 2015-March-20

  • Today we watched the solar eclipse. Here you can see Michael, the most professional hobby astronomer ever, catching it on camera.

Arranging Molecules in Two or Three Dimensions

Molecules on Au(111) 2015-February-22

  • Charged molecules can self-organise on a gold surface to form highly structured motifs. In an effort led by Stijn Mertens, it was demonstrated that, under electrochemical conditions, this principle can be extended from flat structures into the third dimension. The results have been published in the journals Angewandte Chemie and Chemical Communications.

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

Heraeus Seminar on Electrochemical Surface Science

Keynote Lecture 2015-January-18

  • Stijn Mertens co-organized the rather successful 583rd Heraeus Seminar. The meeting, which took place at the Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, was dedicated to the emerging field of electrochemical surface science. Ulrike Diebold gave a keynote lecture, and Jan Balajka presented a poster.

Surface Structure of an Iron Oxide Unraveled

Magnetite crystal structure 2014-December-05

  • A team around Gareth Parkinson of the Surface Physics group has solved a long-standing mystery: No one could explain why the magnetite Fe3O4(001) surface behaves differently than all other oxides. It turned out that this surface has a very peculiar crystal structure, which requires a new way of thinking about oxide surfaces in general. The results have been published in the prestigious journal Science.

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


  • Michele Riva, who has spent the last seven months in our laser-MBE lab, is going back home to Politecnico di Milano to finish his Ph.D. thesis.
  • Jan Hulva (aka 'Honza') who has already been with us with the ERASMUS program, returns as a new Ph.D. student.

September: Conference Month


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

Jessi Exits With a Bang

Jessi talks 2014-August-26

  • Jessi van der Hoeven from the University of Utrecht, who has been visiting with us for the past half year, is returning to the Netherlands. As a farewell, she gives a presentation of her research to her advisor, Prof. Petra de Jongh, with the group listening in. Jessi shows us beautiful results on Pt nanoclusters and their role in catalysis. Watch out for papers to come!

Bernie Pays for Beer

Bernhard with his beer 2014-August-19

  • Bernhard wins the jackpot of the group's soccer world cup bet, and is obliged to treat us all to beer. Also, his paper “A strong chemical reaction of CO with the surface of Sr3Ru2O2” by B. Stöger et al. has been accepted in PRL. Time for a a little Happy Hour.

A Productive Week


  • Several papers got accepted this week: “A direct view of polarons in TiO2 rutile and anatase” by Martin Setvin et al. in PRL; “Reducing the In2O3(111) Surface Results in Ordered Indium Adatoms” by Margareta Wagner et al. in Advanced Materials Interfaces; “Stabilizing Single Ni adatoms on a Two-dimensional Porous Titania on SrTiO3(110) Surface” by Zhiming Wang et al. in J. Phys. Chem. C; and “Identification of Adsorbed Molecules Via Tip Manipulation: CO, H2O, and O2 on TiO2 Anatase (101)” by Martin Setvin et al. in PCCP. To top it off, all this happened while the boss was vacationing in Croatia.

First Laser Deposition

Rheed Oscillations 2014-July-11

  • We see RHEED oscillations with our new laser MBE system. Michele is excited.


2014-July-8 Group on the Hohe Wand

  • The group enjoys an outing. We hike up the Hohe Wand.

One More Wedding

Bernie and Maria wedding 2014-June-28

  • Bernhard and Maria got married today. Warmest congratulations! (Bernie, who has spent the last three years cleaving single crystals, also has to cleave his wedding present.)

Silver on Magnetite


  • Our paper “Cluster Nucleation and Growth from a Highly Supersaturated Adatom Phase: Silver on Magnetite” by Roland Bliem et al. is published in 'ACS nano'. We celebrate with a bottle of excellent wine from Grenoble.

Link to original publication (subscription may be required)


Platinum Catalysis 2014-June-21

  • Ulrike entertains pupils with surface science, including experiments such as igniting methanol by platinum catalysis. The lecture is part of the Wittgenstein-Akademie.

Press release, TU Wien

Post-docs Move On

Zhiming and Xianfeng 2014-June

  • Our post-docs Zhiming Wang and Xianfeng Hao leave the group. Zhiming is joining the ARPES group of Felix Baumberger in Geneva, Switzerland, and Xianfeng returns home to his university in China. We had a productive time together, and a lot of fun. All the best to both of them!

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

  • Today Daniel Halwidl successfully defended his Masters thesis. Here he proudly presents the molecular beam, which he designed, built, and tested in his thesis work.

Anatase on the Front Page

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

  • Our paper “Surface preparation of TiO2 anatase (101): Pitfalls and how to avoid them” by Martin Setvin et al. made it on the front page of the newest issue of 'Surface Science'.

Link to the paper

Austrian National Academy of Sciences Elects Ulrike Diebold as Full Member


  • The Austrian Academy of Sciences ÖAW has different levels of membership. Ulrike Diebold has been a 'corresponding member' since 2012, and was elected a 'full member' in April 2014.

List of all new ÖAW members.
der standard

Martin Gets Married

Katja and Martin 2014-Apr-26

  • Congratulations to Martin and Katja!

New Engineer

2014-Apr-22 Martin Leichtfried

  • The surface physics group gets additional help. Our new “UHV Technician”, Martin Leichtfried, joins us.

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


  • Excess electrons in TiO2 anatase are usually delocalized and behave as quasi-free particles. They are trapped, however, at defects such as steps. This is undesired in applications where a high electrical conductivity is essential, such as the Graetzel cell. On the other hand, electron localization can be beneficial in chemical applications. For example, oxygen prefers to adsorb close to surface steps. These effects are clearly seen in STM and NC-AFM images taken by Martin Setvin and other members of the surface physics group. The experimental results have been confirmed in theoretical calculations by Xianfeng Hao, Cesare Franchini, and Geoerg Kresse from Computational Materials Physics, University of Vienna.

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

  • Three students started in our group this month. The photo shows (from left to right) Jakub Piastek from Brno, Czech Republic; Jessi van der Hoeven from Utrecht, Netherlands; and Michele Riva from Milan, Italy. Our new friends will be staying with us for 6 months and will participate in various research projects. Jessi and Jakub are supported by the Erasmus program.

Symposium on Surface Science, 3S

Fritz Aumayr enjoys powerful support by the surface physics group.


  • Our group helped organize the 27th '3S conference in St. Christoph/Arlberg. With more than 80 participants, excellent science, and enjoyable outdoor activities the conference was a success.

A Two-dimensional Electron Gas

Stefan, Bernhard and Zhiming at Bessy


  • The SrTiO3(110) surface forms a reconstruction that consists of a monolayer TiO2, but in a special, rather unreactive - tetrahedrally coordinated - form. When oxygen vacancies are created in this layer, they move to the SrTiO3 interface, where the resulting excess electrons form a two-dimensional gas (2DEG). Zhiming Wang, Stefan Gerhold and Bernhard Stöger from the surface physics group have measured the electronic structure of this electron gas at the synchrotron Bessy in Berlin. (There they also took the happy photo at the right.) Different from other, known 2DEG's, this system shows a pronounced anisotropy that is depends on the doping level. The experimental results are complemented by theoretical calculations by Zhicheng Zhong and Karsten Held at the Institute of Solid State Physics, and Xianfeng Hao and Cesare Franchini, Computational Materials Physics, University of Vienna.

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

  • We have been challenged to play soccer ('football' for the Brits amongst us) by the Solid State Theory group. So we have been practicing. The first time, the old people won against the young'uns. The second time the Österreicher against the Ausländer.

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

  • Zbynek Novotny successfully defends his dissertation entitled 'The Reconstructed Fe3O4(001) Surface as an Adsorption Template'. Prof. Igor Shvets from Trinity College, Dublin, serves as the second examiner. After the successful defense, Zbynek throws a great party with lots of Czech beer. Well, done, Z!

Vacancies Marching to the Top

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

  • Anatase, a form of titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used in (photo)catalysis and many other applications. The interaction of oxygen molecules with this material is of central importance. How this happens on the atomic scale was investigated in experiments by Martin Setvin of the Surface Physics group and calculations by Annabella Selloni (Princeton University) and coworkers. It was found that O2 interacts with oxygen vacancies in the material, resulting in O2 (peroxo) molecules incorporated in the surface.
    These results were published in the prestigious journal Science.

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

  • Jan Balajka joins our group as a PhD student. Together with Stijn Mertens, he will work on electrochemical studies of oxides.

Gareth Parkinson Wins Postdoc Competition

Winner certificate for Gareth Parkinson 2013-Jul-25

  • Last week, Gareth was selected as the winner of the US Department of Energy Postdoctoral Researcher Competition at the EFRC PI meeting in Washington DC. There he gave a talk entitled “Adsorbate Induced Adatom Mobility in a Model Catalyst: Pd/Fe3O4.”

Visit by Minister Töchterle

Group photo with Minister Töchterle 2013-Jul-04

  • Today, our group was honored by a visit of the Austrian Federal Minister for Science and Research, Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Töchterle. He visited our labs and discussed ongoing and planned research with group members.

TU press release

New Post-Doc



  • Margareta Wagner joins the group as a post-doc. She graduated from the University of Graz, where she worked with Falko Netzer and Mike Ramsey.

Wittgenstein Prize for Ulrike Diebold

Press Conference with Minister Töchterle 2013-Jun-17

  • Ulrike Diebold is awarded this year's Wittgenstein Prize, the highest science prize of Austria. The 1.5-million EUR prize is awarded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and sometimes referred to as “Austria's Nobel Prize”. The prize money will boost research in the Surface Physics group.

Press releases: FWF englishgerman

Media coverage: ORFder Standarddie PresseKurierWiener Zeitung

The Dance of the Atoms

The Fe3O4 experts at the STM 2013-Jun-10

  • Metals such as gold or palladium are often used as catalysts to speed up certain chemical reactions. When the atoms ball together, most of them do not get into contact with the surrounding gas any more and the catalytic effect diminishes drastically. The mechanism of clustering is not well understood, however. In an article published in the prestigious journal Nature Materials, Gareth Parkinson and co-workers report on a detailed study of this issue; they have followed the fate of each surface atom and analyze how they are affected by different gas atmospheres. They find carbon monoxide to bind strongly to palladium atoms, helping them to move across the surface.

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

Prof. Zhiqiang Mao


Zhiqiang Mao on the roof

  • Prof. Zhiqiang Mao, Tulane University, visits the group and gives a joint IAP/FOXSI seminar entitled 'Novel Quantum Phenomena in Perovskite Ruthenates'

Gordon Research Conference


Beautiful Switzerland

  • Ulli, Martin and Margareta (a prospective new group member) attend the Gordon Research Conference on “Chemical Reactions at Surfaces” in Diablerets, Switzerland for a week of great talks in a spectacular setting.

Ulrike Diebold receives Adamson Award from the American Chemical Society

Adamson Medal


  • Ulrike Diebold was awarded the 2013 Arthur W. Adamson Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for “significantly advancing the fundamental understanding of the surface chemistry of metal oxides, in particular TiO2, through excellent research, writing, and lecturing.” She received the award during the 245th National ACS Meeting in New Orleans, USA, April 7-11, 2013. At the meeting, a five-session symposium was held in her honor, with contributions from more than 40 scientists from the US, Europe, and Asia.

Adamson Award · TU press release (in German)

Stefan Gerhold Becomes PhD student


Stefan & Birgit after the defense

  • Stefan Gerhold successfully defends his diploma thesis on SrTiO3 surfaces. Here you can see him, happy and proud, with his girlfriend Birgit. Stefan continues working with us as a PhD student.

A Busy March


Killing time while waiting for the power outage

New PhD Student



  • Roland Bliem joins the group. He will be working with Gareth and Oscar on the Fe3O4 project.

Erasmus Students From Brno


The Brno Gang

  • We welcome Jonas Gloss, Jan Hulva, and Petr Mares, physics students from Brno University of Technology. They will be working with us for the next 6 months.

PLD Course at TSST


delicate workblack men watching

  • Ulrike, Zhiming, and Stefan attend a course at Twente University on 'Advanced Laser Deposition of Complex Oxides'. It included changing the filament in the RHEED gun and watching how SrRuO3 grows on SrTiO3.

Ilaria Valenti Visits the Group


Happy in the lab

Philipp Scheiber Defends his Thesis

2012-November-29 Philipp

  • Philipp Scheiber successfully defends his dissertation entitled 'Defects and Adsorption at Titanium Dioxide Surfaces'. Here is Philipp, with outside examiner, Prof. Vladimir Matolin from Charles University in Prague, enjoying a well-deserved drink.

New Group Members


  • Oscar Gamba Vasquez, a PhD student from Colombia, and two Master's students from Austria, Daniel Halwidl and Benjamin Daniel, join the group.

Stijn Mertens Joins the Surface Physics Group

2012-November-01 Stijn

  • We extend a warm welcome to Dr. Stijn Mertens, who joins us from the KU Leuven. He will spearhead our new efforts in electrochemical STM.

In Carnunto

2012-October-01 Ancient Roman Physicists

More Meetings ...


  • Several group members attended the annual project meeting of our SFB FOXSI at Burg Schlaining, where Zhiming Wang, Bernhard Stöger, and Stefan Gerhold presented their latest results.
  • Other members of our group went to Prague to attend a COST Action meeting. Martin Setvin, Zbyněk Novotný, and Jiří Pavelec gave presentations.
  • The rest of us stayed home and worked in the lab.

Annual Meeting of the Austrian Physical Society

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

  • Our group visited the Annual Meeting of the Austrian Physics Society at Graz. Talks were given by Bernhard Stöger, Jake (Joong-Il) Choi and Zbyněk Novotný. Stefan Gerhold and Jiří Pavelec presented posters.

The Group at ECOSS 2012 in Edinburgh

2012-September-10 ECOSS 2012.

  • Zhiming Wang, Martin Setvin, Jiri Pavelec, Zbynek Novotny, and Bernhard Stöger attend this year's ECOSS conference.

Ulrike and Gareth Give Invited Talks


  • Ulrike Diebold and Gareth Parkinson gave invited talks at the 224th American Chemical Society Meeting in Philadelphia (Aug. 20 - 24), and at the SPIE Conference in San Diego, respectively. Both spoke about our newest results on Fe3O4.

Gareth and Zbynek Visit Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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

  • Gareth and Zbynek spent one week in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Together with Juan de la Figurea, they did SP-LEEM experiments on Fe3O4.

Article on Zirconia Films Selected as Editor's Suggestion


  • Our article “Pt3Zr(0001): A substrate for growing well-ordered ultrathin zirconia films by oxidation”, Phys. Rev. B 86, 035451 (2012), was selected Editor's Suggestion, indicating that the editors and referees find the article of particular interest, importance, or clarity.

Gareth Gets FWF Funding

  • Gareth Parkinson has been awarded nearly 200k by the FWF to investigate the surface chemistry of Fe3O4 surfaces.

Iris Wins our Euro Cup Bet


  • Iris Dorner, who is doing her Bachelor thesis in our group, wins our Euro-cup bet hands down with 33 points. She receives the jackpot and treats us all for beer!

Zbynek Novotny Attends Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates

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

  • From 1 to 6 July 2012, more than 25 Nobel Laureates and more than 580 young researchers from all over the world met at Lindau, Germany, to exchange ideas, discuss projects and build international networks. IAP graduate student Zbynek Novotny was selected to attend this meeting, which was dedicated to physics.

Click here for more information about the Lindau meetings

Annabella Selloni Visits us


  • Prof. Annabella Selloni of Princeton University vists our group during the week of June 25. She gives a joint IAP/SFB FOXSI seminar and we discuss our joint research on anatase surfaces.

Selloni's homepage

Jonas and Jan are here for the summer!

June 2012 Jonas Gloss and Jan Hulva

  • Jonas Gloss and Jan Hulva, physics students from Brno, are joining our group for the summer months. They are helping Jiri setting up a new chamber. Here is a picture:

Ulrike Diebold elected to the Austrian Academy of Sciences


  • The Austrian Academey of Sciences elected Ulrike Diebold as a 'corresponding member' in the class of natural sciences, exact sciences, and medicine.

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

  • In the latest issue of Physical Review Letters [Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 216103 (2012)], Zbyněk Novotný and colleagues describe the discovery of highly stable single gold atoms on a magnetite (Fe3O4) surface. This observation is expected to facilitate catalysis research: On the other substrates studied so far, gold atoms don't stay alone but easily form large clusters, which are considered less active catalysts than single atoms.

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

ERC Advanced Grant for Ulrike Diebold

ERC logo

  • Ulrike Diebold has received a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for her project OxideSurfaces, which will be funded with up to 2.5M Euro, and will run over 5 years. The project focuses on metal oxides. These materials have an extremely wide range of physical and chemical properties, and are used in catalysis, solar cells, batteries, gas sensors, and many other technical areas. Research topics are the interaction between bulk and surface defects, complex oxides, and she will also aim at scanning probe microscopy of oxides with atomic resolution in an aqueous solution.

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

  • Ulrike Diebold received an invitation to join the editorial board of Physical Review Letters (PRL). She will act as an associate editor for the Material Physics Division from 2012 - 2014. PRL reports on the 'hottest and newest' in all of physics, from high-energy to solid state to astrophysics. It is the most highly-respected journal in physics, and serving on its board is a true honor.

New Doctoral College'SolidFun'


  • The Austrian Fund for (FWF) has approved a new doctoral program 'Building Solids for Function' 'SolidFun'. The program will be providing students with the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research. Groups from chemistry, physics, and electrical engineering departments at the TU are participating. The Surface Physics Group at IAP, headed by Ulrike Diebold, will also be part of this new doctoral program. The application process will start this Spring.

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

  • In an unusual location, the Opera House of Wrocław, Poland, Professor Ulrike Diebold gave a plenary talk at Europe's largest conference on surface science, ECOSS-28. The topic of Ulrike's talk was the Surface Science of Metal Oxides; she discussed recent progress, challenges, and opportunities in this area. The ECOSS-28 conference was attended by more than 650 participants, including IAP members Michael Schmid, Zbyněk Novotný, Philipp Scheiber, Gareth Parkinson, Peter Jacobson, and Sameena Shah Zaman, who also gave presentations on their recent research.

New research program on oxides

Research topics in the SFB 2011-Mar-15

  • Today is the official start of the Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB) “Functional Oxide Surfaces and Interfaces”. Results of this four-million-Euro research program are expected to have an impact on applications in catalysis, gas sensing, fuel cells and microelectronics. The SFB unites researchers from the TU Wien and the Universities of Vienna, Innsbruck and Siegen (Germany). Three of the ten project leaders in the SFB are members of our institute, two of them in Surface Physics group! Ulrike Diebold will work on pervoskites, Michael Schmid will study ultrathin zirconia films, and Josef Redinger (CMS group) leads the theory part and. See the TU Wien press release (in German) and the abstract of the SFB for more details.

Honorary Doctorate for Peter Varga

Conferment ceremony 2010-May-28

  • In the Cathedral of Lund, in a grand ceremony, Peter Varga was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Lund, Sweden. The degree was awarded for his outstanding contributions to materials science on the atomic scale.

The dance of molecules

2010-May-14 Catechol adsorbed on TiO2

  • Newly appointed professor Ulrike Diebold has discovered that hydrogen bonding plays a key role in the diffusion of organic molecules across solid surfaces. By gaining and losing hydrogen atoms, catechol molecules rotate in a dance-like motion along the titanium rows of a TiO2 surface. These results have been published in the prestigious journal Science [Li et al., Science 328, 882-884 (2010)]. The work was also featured in Chemical and Engineering News [C&EN 88, 29 (2010)].

Newly appointed professor of surface science

Ulrike Diebold 2010-Jan-04

  • Prof. Ulrike Diebold has moved from Tulane University (New Orleans, LA, USA) to TU Wien and started her position as full professor of surface science at our institute. Welcome to the Surface Physics group!

Academy of Sciences Member

Michael Schmid 2007-Dec-14

Oxide structures of catalysts disentangled

atomic structure of alumina 2007-Jul-16

  • By scanning tunneling microscopy Peter Varga und Michael Schmid and members of their Surface Physics Group have revealed the atomic structure of oxides used in catalysts. See the press release.

Silver jubilee without silver

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

  • The Surface Physics Group celebrates its 25th publication in Physical Review Letters. Congratulations!
    The 25th PRL isn't about silver; although one might expect this for a silver jubilee; oxidation of silver happened to be the topic of the 24th PRL of this group.

surface/news/index.1531237591.txt.gz · Last modified: 2018-07-10 17:46 by Ulrike Diebold