The Surface, Interface & Thin Films group within the Physics Department reflects the interdisciplinary nature of this field, covering the physical and chemical aspects of the topic. The majority of our work is concerned with studies of well-characterised single crystal surfaces under ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions. However, there is also an interest in both in situ and ex situ studies of electrochemical interfaces and in the 'bulk' properties of new semiconductor materials.
Among the UHV studies the main underlying themes are:
- the reaction of simple molecules with metal (mainly transition metal) and oxide surfaces motivated by a need to improve our understanding of heterogeneous catalysis;
- the electronic properties of the near-surface region of semiconductors, including oxide and nitride highly mismatched alloys;
- understanding fundamental processes in molecular beam epitaxy, especially in the context of magnetic semiconductors and extreme heteroepitaxy.
- developing binary and complex perovskite oxide surfaces and interfaces grown in-situ using pulsed laser deposition.
- through the Science City Photoemission Facility, assisting research programmes investigating materials including photovoltaics, novel electrode materials and industrial coatings.
Four academic staff members are closely involved in this programme:
- Professor Phil Woodruff FRS, who is particularly concerned with structural studies of molecular and atomic adsorbates on metal and oxide surfaces.
- Professor Chris McConville, Director of the Birmingham and Warwick Science City Research Alliance (SCRA), whose research group concentrates on studies of semiconductor surfaces and interfaces.
- Dr. Jim Robinson, whose particular interests are density functional theoery calculations and electrochemical interfaces.
- Dr. Gavin Bell, whose particular interest is understanding molecular beam epitaxy and ferromagnet / semiconductor hybrid systems. He is also working on graphene grown on scalable (cheap) substrates.