Atomic-level surface-science investigations of novel supported thin-films

Project Title: Atomic-level surface-science investigations of novel supported thin-films

Principle Investigator: William Kaden

Pictured are the multi-chambered ultrahigh vacuum surface-science apparatus used in Dr. Kaden’s Laboratory to investigate surfaces of interest using analytical surface characterization techniques including but not limited to STM, AFM, XPS, XAES, LEIS, LEED, and MS/TPD. Insets are provided to depict extreme conditions achievable within the apparatus [Ta @ ~2,500°C] and representative LEIS [Ag(111)] and atomically-resolved STM [Si(111)-7×7] data.

Project Description:
Research conducted within the Kaden lab focuses on applying ultrahigh-vacuum (UHV, c.a. 10 TRILLION-fold lower pressure than your current ambient environment) surface-science methodologies to elucidate and thoroughly investigate the most fundamental physical driving forces governing catalytic processes at the interface of “model” catalytic systems. Put more specifically, the primary aim of the group is to draw upon directly attainable atomic- and molecular-level experimental data to more fully understand elementary structural-electronic-chemical relationships relevant to targeted reactions of interest at the interfaces of catalytic materials ranging from two-dimensional thin-films and supported clusters created within UHV to powders produced via industrially compatible wet-chemical techniques.

Successful applicants interested in conducting summer projects within this group will work closely with graduate students to carry out work related to ongoing and evolving research interests within the lab. Such projects are likely to focus on: (I) novel methods of producing, characterizing, and utilizing supported model-silicate materials; (II) novel methods of producing, characterizing, and applying phase-differentiated molybdenum-nitride thin-films to hydrodenitrogenation reactions; or (III) the development, characterization, and utilization of novel dissimilar monolayer-support metallic interfaces for use in electrochemical oxygen reduction fuel-cell reactions. The ultimate specifics of the project will be determined on the basis of student interests and group needs at the time of the program. In addition to contributing to day-to-day scientific objectives, assigned projects will most likely also include elements of clearly defined fabrication, modification, and/or restoration projects involving technical equipment relevant to the research conducted within our group.