Nanosciences@Surfaces Summer School Report

Published on

The Nanoscience@Surfaces summer school took place on the 25-28th of July 2022 at the University of Liverpool.

A bit ill-fated, Nanoscience@Surfaces summer school was originally scheduled for 2020, and even in 2022 proved organizationally challenging as COVID restrictions wound down. The organizers are deeply indebted to the Institute of Physics for assistance and the excellent line-up of speakers who provided their services at short-notice. We were absent only two speakers to train strikes (a bit more ill-fate) and a small number of attendees to COVID.

An exciting programme was delivered, book-ended by a perspective on the developments in surface engineering for biological applications by Ras Raval, and an introduction to Surface Science in application to Astrophysics and Astrochemistry by Martin McCoustra. Fundamental techniques were introduced by Philip Moriarty, who discussed the basics of Scanning Probe Microscopy and the dangers of over-interpreting results, Georg Held talked on Photoelectron and X-ray absorption spectroscopy, Chris Nicklin gave a broad introduction to Surface Science techniques at the Diamond Light Source. Andrew Jardine introduced the use of neutral atoms to probe surfaces and Rob Lindsay discussed quantitative structure determination of oxide surfaces. We also had talks on specific applications such as the surface properties of magnetic materials (Andrew Pratt), the structure and reactivity of water at metal surfaces (Andrew Hodgson), and single molecule electronics (Richard Nichols).

Neil Curson introduced the use of surface modification by scanning probes and Early Career Physicist Peiyu Chen gave an excellent illustration of the use of STM to study and characterize metallic nanocrystals. Theory was covered by Matthew Dyer (DFT) and Dave Willock (theory of reactions at surfaces) and Ron Lifshitz gave an elegant talk on the fundamental description of a crystal, introducing quasicrystals.

The talks were accompanied by hands-on workshops on SPM analysis (Joe Smerdon) and XPS analysis (Ben Spencer), with a new workshop on computational techniques by Theodoros Papadopoulos and Dave Willock, and a careers workshop organised by Kieran Cheetham with representatives from industry.

Dr George Darling
University of Liverpool