Surfaces and Interfaces at the Nanoscale (SIN)

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Group leader

Professor Adam Foster

sin2-300x270.pngMany technological applications depend crucially on surface rather than bulk material properties, and the study of surfaces has become an important field within condensed matter physics. A few prominent examples are immediately evident – the environmental degradation of high-Tc superconductors; bonding between grains of alumina in sintered ceramics; passivation of metal surfaces against corrosion; biomedical substrates; improving and designing new solid-state gas sensors for pollution monitoring and control; studying electrode/electrolyte interfaces in fuel cells. In microelectronics, the ability to produce and control almost atomically perfect silicon surfaces has allowed the interface engineering crucial in fabricating transistors at the nanoscale – and this control of surface properties remains a crucial element in the development of the next generation of microelectronic devices. More recently, increased confidence in manipulation and fabrication of atomic structures on surfaces has opened the field of nano or molecular electronics and magnetism, with great technological potential. In each of these cases, and in many other applications where surface properties are important, understanding and controlling surface and interface physics at the atomic scale is the fundamental developmental goal required for optimization and, in cases like nanoelectronics, realization.

In the SIN group we apply and develop various atomistic and quantum mechanical simulation methods to study surface and interface physics at the nanoscale, with particular emphasis on working closely with experimentalists and technologists. We have comprehensive experience in applying first principles methods for studying nanoscale systems, including both quantum chemical and density functional based approaches, and static and dynamical treatments of atoms and electrons. Our research topics include nanoscale studies of friction, nanomanipulation, nanocatalysis, microelectronics, molecular electronics, self-assembly, solid-liquid interfaces, and are often partnered with state-of-art Scanning Probe Microscopy. For more information on the group please follow the links in the menu.

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Prof. Adam Foster
Tel: +358 50 4333097
firstname.lastname (at)

Postal address:
Department of Applied Physics
Aalto University School of Science
P.O.Box 11100, 00076 AALTO, Finland

Visiting address:
Office: Y419 main building (4th floor)