Department of Applied Physics

Surface Science

The Surface Science group studies structures, bonding, and reactivity at solid surfaces on the atomic and molecular scale using advanced surface sensitive tools in Ultra High Vacuum environment. This knowledge is utilized to understand macroscopic behavior of nanostructures and surface phenomena like heterogeneous catalysis and adhesion.
Surface science

Group leader

Dr. Jouko Lahtinen

Research is carried out in the following areas:

  • Structural and chemical characterization of nanomaterials
  • Interactions and structures of adsorbate species on metal surfaces
  • Surface and near surface characterization of oxide materials, nanoparticles and ‘real’ catalysts.


The Surface Science group studies:

  • Growth and characterisation of 2D materials
  • Interactions and structures of adsorbate species on metal surfaces
  • Surface and near surface characterization of oxide materials, nanoparticles and ‘real’ catalysts.

Graphene and other 2D nanostructures

Graphene is a one atomic thick sheet of carbon atoms featuring a honeycomb structure. It has several interesting properties both mechanically and electronically.

These studies have been performed in close collaboration with the Atomic Scale Physics group. The adjacent image shows the moire structure of single layer of graphene on Ir(111) surface studied with LEED I(V) and AFM measurements that yield the local surface topography with pm accuracy.

Ordered structures of adsorbed molecules on single crystal surfaces

With these studies we aim to increase the understanding of catalytic systems. Adsorption of CO has been studied on metal surfaces and known catalytic promoters and poisons hase been added to change the adsorption behaviour and structure. Typically the system has been studied with XPS and LEED I(V) measurements to give chemical and structural information. The adjacent image shows the adsorption structure of  clusters consisting of 14 P-atoms on Pt(111) surface.

Surface characterisation with ESCA

Electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA, XPS) is a standard tool for studying the chemical composition of the first few atomic layers of solid material. We have used the method to study a large variety of samples from our collaborators; these include e.g. car exhaust catalysts from Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Oulu University, carbon nano structures from e.g. NanoMaterials group, light emitting silica particles, etc.


The Surface Science research group has three multi-technique ultra-high vacuum (UHV) systems located in Nanotalo.

Kratos Axis Ultra ESCA system

The system is an X-ray Photoemission Spectrometer (XPS, ESCA) enabling elemental concentrations,chemical state identification and chemical state mapping of the surface. The system contains a dual anode (Mg and Al Kα source) and a monochromated Al Kα source. The analysis area varies from 110 μm down to 15 μm, and he ultimate lateral resolution is 5 μm. There is also an He-source enabling Ultraviolet Photoemission Spectroscopy (UPS).

Ar Gas Cluster Ion Source (GCIS) capable of generating Ar cluster size up to 2000 atoms. The cluster source enables depth profiling of both hard and soft materials. The ion source also enables Low Energy Ion Scattering Spectrocopy (LEISS).


The system is a self-combined collection consisting of 

  • Surface Science SSX-100 electron energy analyzer and monochromatic X-ray source
  • Omicron VT SPM variable temperature scanning tunneling microscope
  • SPECTALEED reverse view LEED-optics for low energy electron diffraction (LEED)
  • evaporation systems for sample preparation in vacuum.


This is another self-combined system consisting of

  • Perkin Elmer PHI 3057 XPS system with a dual anode (Mg and Al Kα) X-ray source and an electron energy analyzer.

  • Princeton Research Instruments reverse view LEED-optics
  • Bruker Polarization Modulated Ifrared Absorption Spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS)

Latest publications

Facile Fabrication of Ni9 S8 /Ag2 S Intertwined Structures for Oxygen and Hydrogen Evolution Reactions

Rathindranath Biswas, Imtiaz Ahmed, Priyanka Manna, Partha Mahata, Rajendra S. Dhayal, Amol Singh, Jouko Lahtinen, Krishna Kanta Haldar 2023 CHEMPLUSCHEM

Modulating the Geometry of the Carbon Nanofiber Electrodes Provides Control over Dopamine Sensor Performance

Ayesha Kousar, Ishan Pande, Laura Ferrer Pascual, Emilia Peltola, Jani Sainio, Tomi Laurila 2023 Analytical Chemistry

Overlooked residue of Li-ion battery recycling waste as high-value bifunctional oxygen electrocatalyst for Zn-air batteries

Kerli Liivand, Jani Sainio, Benjamin P. Wilson, Ivar Kruusenberg, Mari Lundström 2023 Applied Catalysis B: Environmental

Correlation between microstructure and surface chemistry of carbon nanofibers grown using different adhesive layers

Ishan Pande, Sami Sainio, Jani Sainio, Ville Liljeström, Hua Jiang, Tomi Laurila 2023 Diamond and Related Materials

Two orders of magnitude enhancement in oxygen evolution reactivity of La0.7Sr0.3Fe1−xNixO3−δ by improving the electrical conductivity

Lijun Fan, Eeva Leena Rautama, Johan Lindén, Jani Sainio, Hua Jiang, Olli Sorsa, Nana Han, Cristina Flox, Yicheng Zhao, Yongdan Li, Tanja Kallio 2022 Nano Energy

Temperature dependent product distribution of electrochemical CO2 reduction on CoTPP/MWCNT Composite

Md Noor Hossain, Paulina Prslja, Cristina Flox, Navaneethan Muthuswamy, Jani Sainio, A. M. Kannan, Milla Suominen, N. Lopez, Tanja Kallio 2022 Applied Catalysis B: Environmental

Long-term cycling behavior of Mg-doped LiCoO2 materials investigated with the help of laboratory scale X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy

Katja Lahtinen, Maximilian Labmayr, Ville Mäkelä, Hua Jiang, Jouko Lahtinen, Lide Yao, Ekaterina O. Fedorovskaya, Samuli Räsänen, Simo Huotari, Tanja Kallio 2022 Materials Today Energy

Dumbbell-Shaped Ternary Transition-Metal (Cu, Ni, Co) Phosphate Bundles

Harjinder Singh, Rathindranath Biswas, Imtiaz Ahmed, Pooja Thakur, Avinava Kundu, Abhishek Ramachandra Panigrahi, Biplab Banerjee, Krishna Kamal Halder, Jouko Lahtinen, Krishnakanta Mondal, Krishna Kanta Haldar 2022 ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

Understanding the Stabilizing Effects of Nanoscale Metal Oxide and Li-Metal Oxide Coatings on Lithium-Ion Battery Positive Electrode Materials

Zahra Ahaliabadeh, Ville Miikkulainen, Miia Mäntymäki, Seyedabolfazl Mousavihashemi, Jouko Lahtinen, Lide Yao, Hua Jiang, Kenichiro Mizohata, Timo Kankaanpää, Tanja Kallio 2021 ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

Designing of low Pt electrocatalyst through immobilization on metal@C support for efficient hydrogen evolution reaction in acidic media

Fatemeh Davodi, Geraldine Cilpa-Karhu, Jani Sainio, Mohammad Tavakkoli, Hua Jiang, Elisabeth Mühlhausen, Galina Marzun, Bilal Gökce, Kari Laasonen, Tanja Kallio 2021 Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database

Research group members

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