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Matter on Surfaces

Lecturer: Professor Günter Reiter
Time: 3 hrs per week, Mon, 9H15 - 10H45, Thu, 9H15 – 10H00
Place: Seminar room of the Reiter group, 3. floor physic tower
Start: 19.10.2009


Preliminary Program: (The course will be given in English)

Motto: "God made solids, but surfaces were the work of the devil." Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958)


The students should get an overview over phenomena which only appear on surfaces and interfaces (e.g. how to make water running uphill). The course deals with special stuctural and electronic properties of liquid and solid surfaces as well as their relevance in many fields of modern material science and nanotechnology.


Surfaces between solids and liquids can be found in most of the physical, chemical, biological and geolocical systems, as well as in many technolocical processes. Although the number of atoms or molecules at these surfaces is comparatively small, this "minority" can often dominate or even control the behavior of large (macroscopic) sytems.


  1. General description of interfaces: Thermodynamics and kinetics
  2. Interaction forces at interfaces: Short- and long range forces , ...
  3. Liquids and liquid interfaces: Droplets, bubbles, waves, "liquid beeds"
  4. Solid-liquid interfaces: Hydrodynamics, capillarity, wetting,...
  5. Structure of solid surfaces: Elektronic processes at surfaces
  6. Surface processes: Adsorption/desorption, phase transitions
  7. Making of well defined solid surfaces: Surface reconstruction, surface transport,...
  8. Growth- and decay: Epitaxy, nucleation, lattice mismatches, mechanical stress
  9. Organic layers and nanostructures on surfaces: Directed stucturing of surfaces at nm-scale

Previous Knowlegde:

Experimentalphysik IV (Condensed Matter)


  • Intermolecular and Surface Forces, With Applications to Colloidal and Biological Systems, Jacob Israelachvili, Academic Press 1995 bzw. Elsevier 2008
  • "Capillarity and Wetting Phenomena: Drops, Bubbles, Pearls, Waves" von P.-G. de Gennes, F. Brochard-Wyart und D. Quéré, Springer, New York, 2004
  • John A. Venables, Lecture notes on Surfaces and Thin Films
  • I. Markov, Crystal Growth for Beginners, World Scientific

Continuative and supplementary references will be given during the lecture.


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