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SS 2020 - Condensed Matter II: Interfaces and Nanostructures

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Günter Reitert0.1.jpg
Time:  4 h/week
Location: online course
Tutorial and Q&A: Fri 10:00-12:00h
Start: 11.05.2020

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

Leading theme: "The volume of the solid body was created by God, its surface was made by the devil." Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958)


►Lecture slides on ILIAS

General information:

All courses during SS 2020 will be held online.

More specifically, this means:

  •     All slides will come with audio track for self-study and are available on ILIAS.
  •     We will communicate with you via "Zoom". This is a video conference program comparable to Skype. If there are any concerns from your side please let us know.
  •     Prof. Reiter will be available for Q&A via Zoom.
  •     Tutorials will be held via Zoom as well.
  •     Tutorials and Q/A sessions will be merged into one weekly event taking place on Fridays from 10h00 to 12h00.

Our goal is to allow for discussions and questions during Q&A sessions with Prof. Reiter to be possible as if you were in a normal class room. The exact timing of these sessions will be determined by mutual agreement.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns at

ECTS points:
Prof. Reiter will have a little discussion of 30 min with you (you may call it an oral exam). For STUDIENLEISTUNG, there will be no grades.


Students should get an overview of physical phenomena that only occur on surfaces and interfaces (example: How do you make water run uphill?). In addition to special structural and electronic properties of liquid and solid surfaces, their importance is dealt with in various areas of modern materials science and nanotechnology.

Interfaces between solids or liquids occur in most physical, chemical, biological and geological systems, but also in many technological processes. Although the number of atoms or molecules at these interfaces is comparatively small, this "minority" can often determine and sometimes even control the behavior of large (macroscopic) systems.

The following topics are covered:
1. General description of interfaces: thermodynamics and kinetics
2. Interaction forces at interfaces: short and long-range forces, ...
3. Liquids and liquid interfaces: drops, bubbles, waves, "liquid marbles"
4. Structure of solid surfaces: electronic processes on surfaces
5. Solid-liquid interfaces: hydrodynamics, capillarity, wetting, ...
6. Interface processes: adsorption / desorption, phase transitions
7. Production of well-defined solid surfaces: surface reconstruction, surface transport, ...
8. Growth and dissolution processes: epitaxy, nucleation, lattice mismatch, mechanical stresses
9. Organic layers and nanostructures on surfaces: targeted structuring of surfaces on the nm scale

Previous knowledge:
Experimental Physics IV (Condensed Matter)

Introductory literature:

•    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. VenablesLecture notes on Surfaces and Thin Films
•    I. Markov, Crystal Growth for Beginners, World Scientific 2003
Further and supplementary references are presented in the lecture.

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