A key component of our research is the microscopic real space visualisation of reactants, intermediates and products in model systems and conditions, providing unparalleled mechanistic insight and structural characterisation of non-periodic nanoscopic events. This is complemented by a battery of additional cutting-edge experimental techniques developed for ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) surface science and each student is guided to apply the appropriate combination of those to their project.
Model surfaces and nanostructures are prepared in UHV with self-assembly protocols of deposited molecules and atoms. We use physical and/or chemical vapour deposition (PVD &/ CVD, organic molecular beam epitaxy (OMBE) and the recently in-house developed (group Schlichting) electrospray controlled ion beam deposition (EC-IBD), which allows the controlled deposition of delicate objects. Scanning probe microscopies address single molecule behaviour (scanning tunnelling microscopy - STM & atomic force microscopy - AFM), while temperature programmed reaction spectroscopy (TPRS), UV/X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS/XPS), near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS), and X-ray standing waves (XSW) allow to scrutinize molecular ensembles.
The infrastructure within the department allows us to carry out the majority of these analyses within the Garching campus. Our predominant tool of characterisation is an Aarhus-type variable-temperature scanning tunnelling microscope. We carry out synchrotron radiation work in various synchrotron beamlines in Europe: Diamond (UK), Swiss Light Source, ELETTRA (Italy), BESSY (Germany).