CHEM 678

Structure and Properties of Surfaces

Spring 2021



February 12 Introduction. Surface science and its subjects. Vacuum. Vacuum pumps. Vacuum measurement.
February 19 Surface structure of single crystals. Diffraction methods. Low energy electron diffraction.
February 26 Surface atoms and surface concentration. Auger electron spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
March 5 AES – Laboratory
March 12 Mass spectrometry and thermal desorption. Thermodynamics and kinetics of surface reactions.
March 19 Laboratory work on mass spectroscopy and thermal desorption.
March 26 Vibrational spectroscopy and vibrational spectroscopy laboratory
April 2 Spring Break
April 9 Microscopic analytical techniques
April 16 Theoretical surface chemistry
April 23 Theoretical surface chemistry
April 30 Theoretical surface chemistry
May 7 Student Presentations
May 14 Student presentations and review for the final exam.
Finals week Take-home final exam, 24 hours window


Text: The course will be based on several books, scientific publications and other materials. The principle text is: “Practical Guide to Surface Science & Spectroscopy” by Yip-Wah Chung (Academic Press, 2001) but it is not required. Other well known surface chemistry textbooks will be helpful.

Other Useful Textbooks:

  • Arthur W. Adamson and Alice P. Gast “Physical Chemistry of Surfaces”, 6th edition, 1997.
  • Gabor A. Somorjai, “Introduction to Surface Chemistry and Catalysis”, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York 1994.
  • Kurt W. Kolasinski, “Surface Science. Foundations of Catalysis and Nanoscience”, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., London 2002.

Narrative: The course will cover structure and chemical properties of solid surfaces. It will involve lectures and laboratory work in a surface science facility of Professor Teplyakov. Lectures will be followed by practical applications of surface analytical techniques and computational experiments using density functional theory.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level physical chemistry courses. This course will be based on general physical chemistry concepts in kinetics, thermodynamics, and spectroscopy.

Restrictions: Students from the departments other that Chemistry and Biochemistry, Physics, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Plant and Soil Sciences should seek the permission of instructor before registering.


Class participation and homework – 12.5%;

Presentation – 25%

Computational problem – 25%

Final (comprehensive) – 37.5%

Lecture Notes:

Lecture 1: Surface science and its subjects, vacuum, vacuum measurement

Lecture 2: Diffraction application to surfaces: LEED

Lecture 3: XPS

Lecture 4: Auger Electron Spectroscopy

Lecture 5: Thermal Desorption

Lecture 6: Vibrational Spectroscopies

Lecture 7: STM and AFM

Lecture 8: Computational Chemistry