Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title CHEM358 Chemistry at Surfaces
Code CHEM358
Coordinator Dr GR Darling
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 6 FHEQ Second Semester 7.5

Pre-requisites before taking this module (or general academic requirements):



To introduce the basics of surface structure description
To illustrate the experimental techniques used in surface science
To describe the different chemical bonding at surfaces
To describe surface dynamics and reactivity

Learning Outcomes

(BH2) Be able to make atomistic models of the low index surfaces of common materials

(L6-2) Be able to make atomistic models of the low index surfaces of common materials

(LO1) Demonstrate understanding of the different processes occurring at surfaces

(LO2) Be able to describe the structure of surfaces and how this relates to the techniques used to determine this

(LO3) Show understanding of the electronic structure of surfaces and how this influences surface chemistry

(LO4) Apply knowledge of surface science techniques to nanotechnology and heterogeneous catalysis

(LO5) Be able to discuss how surface electronic structure relates to and differs from bulk electronic structure

(LO6) Show understanding of the processes involved in adsorption and desorption of atoms and molecules

(LO7) Be able to discuss the kinetics of surface processes

(LO8) Demonstrate knowledge of factors affecting surface reactivity and the importance for heterogeneous catalysis

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module consists of 15 online lectures (50 minutes). The material presented at the lectures and its application for solving problems is supported by two 1-hour online tutorials given at times to be published.



1. Description of surface structures in terms of termination of bulk crystal structure
2. Surface reconstruction, how the atoms change position
3. Surface structure and symmetry in the presence of adsorbates
4. Thermodynamics and kinetics of surfaces
Experimental methods in surface structure
1. Electron, X-ray and He diffraction for surfaces
2. Translating diffraction into surface structure
3. Infra-red and electron spectroscopy
4. Imaging the surface: introduction to STM and AFM
Electronic structure and bonding at surfaces
1. Elementary band structure and densities of states of surfaces, band narrowing, surface states
Surface Dynamics and Reactivity
1. Adsorption and desorption processes: physisorption and chemisorption
2. Surface Reactivity
3. Catalysis at surfaces

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours     2


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 58


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
online time-controlled examination. Learning outcomes will be assessed by short answer, short essay type, and problem-solving questions.  1.5 hours + 1 hour f    80       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Tutorials questions comprised of short answer, and problem-solving questions  2 hours    20