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

Raman fingerprints and exciton-phonon coupling in 2D ternary layered semiconductor InSeBr

Xuerong Hu, Luojun Du, Yadong Wang, Jouko Lahtinen, Lide Yao, Zhaoyu Ren, Zhipei Sun 2020 Applied Physics Letters

Electronic and magnetic characterization of epitaxial VSe2 monolayers on superconducting NbSe2

Shawulienu Kezilebieke, Md Nurul Huda, Paul Dreher, Ilkka Manninen, Yifan Zhou, Jani Sainio, Rhodri Mansell, Miguel M. Ugeda, Sebastiaan van Dijken, Hannu Pekka Komsa, Peter Liljeroth 2020 Communications physics

On the stability of polyaniline/carbon nanotube composites as binder-free positive electrodes for electrochemical energy storage

Taina Rauhala, Fatemeh Davodi, Jani Sainio, Olli Sorsa, Tanja Kallio 2020 Electrochimica Acta

Mesoporous Single-Atom-Doped Graphene-Carbon Nanotube Hybrid

Mohammad Tavakkoli, Emmanuel Flahaut, Pekka Peljo, Jani Sainio, Fatemeh Davodi, Egor V. Lobiak, Kimmo Mustonen, Esko I. Kauppinen 2020 ACS Catalysis

Roles of sulfur in floating-catalyst CVD growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes for transparent conductive film applications

Saeed Ahmad, Er-Xiong Ding, Qiang Zhang, Hua Jiang, Jani Sainio, Mohammad Tavakkoli, Aqeel Hussain, Yongping Liao, Esko I. Kauppinen 2019 Chemical Engineering Journal

Highly Luminescent Gold Nanocluster Frameworks

Sourov Chandra, Nonappa Nonappa, Grégory Beaune, Anirban Som, Shaochen Zhou, Jouko Lahtinen, Hua Jiang, Jaakko Timonen, Olli Ikkala, Robin Ras 2019 ADVANCED OPTICAL MATERIALS

Noble copper-silver-gold trimetallic nanobowls

Krishna Kanta Haldar, Swati Tanwar, Rathindranath Biswas, Tapasi Sen, Jouko Lahtinen 2019 Journal of Colloid and Interface Science

Microstructural characteristics of vehicle-aged heavy-duty diesel oxidation catalyst and natural gas three-way catalyst

Tomi Kanerva, Mari Honkanen, Tanja Kolli, Olli Heikkinen, Kauko Kallinen, Tuomo Saarinen, Jouko Lahtinen, Eva Olsson, Riitta L. Keiski, Minnamari Vippola 2019 CATALYSTS

Mimicking Neurotransmitter Release and Long‐Term Plasticity by Oxygen Vacancy Migration in a Tunnel Junction Memristor

Hongwei Tan, Sayani Bhattacharya, QiHang Qin, Jouko Lahtinen, Sebastiaan van Dijken 2019 Advanced Intelligent Systems

Size- and density-controlled photodeposition of metallic platinum nanoparticles on titanium dioxide for photocatalytic applications

Camilla Tossi, Lassi Hällström, Jorma Selin, Marko Vaelma, Erich See, Jouko Lahtinen, Ilkka Tittonen 2019 Journal of Materials Chemistry A
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database

Research group members

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