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

Doped Mott phase and charge correlations in monolayer 1T-NbSe2

Xin Huang, Jose Lado, Jani Sainio, Peter Liljeroth, Somesh Chandra Ganguli 2024

High-temperature adsorption of nitrogen dioxide for stable, efficient, and scalable doping of carbon nanotubes

Eldar M. Khabushev, Dmitry V. Krasnikov, Jani Sainio, Ilya V. Novikov, Anastasia E. Goldt, Stanislav S. Fedotov, Tanja Kallio, Albert G. Nasibulin 2024 Carbon

Ni Drastically Modifies the Microstructure and Electrochemistry of Thin Ti and Cr Layers

Ayesha Kousar, Ulviyya Quliyeva, Ishan Pande, Jani Sainio, Jaakko Julin, Timo Sajavaara, Hua Jiang, Tomi Laurila 2024 Journal of Physical Chemistry C

High Voltage Cycling Stability of LiF-Coated NMC811 Electrode

Princess Stephanie Llanos, Zahra Ahaliabadeh, Ville Miikkulainen, Jouko Lahtinen, Lide Yao, Hua Jiang, Timo Kankaanpää, Tanja Kallio 2024 ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

Effect of etchant gases on the structure and properties of carbon nanofibers

Ishan Pande, Laura Ferrer Pascual, Ayesha Kousar, Jani Sainio, Hua Jiang, Tomi Laurila 2024 Diamond and Related Materials

Supporting critical raw material circularity - upcycling graphite from waste LIBs to Zn-air batteries

Reio Praats, Alexander Chernyaev, Jani Sainio, Mari Lundström, Ivar Kruusenberg, Kerli Liivand 2024 Green Chemistry

Construction of hydrophilic-hydrophobic domains in Bi2O3/nitrogen-doped carbon electrode to boost CO2-to-formate conversion

Junjie Shi, Nana Han, Benjin Jin, Milla Suominen, Jouko Lahtinen, Kim Miikki, Benjamin P. Wilson, Tanja Kallio 2024 Next Materials

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

Robust method for uniform coating of carbon nanotubes with V2O5 for next-generation transparent electrodes and Li-ion batteries

Daniil A. Ilatovskii, Dmitry V. Krasnikov, Anastasia E. Goldt, Seyedabolfazl Mousavihashemi, Jani Sainio, Eldar M. Khabushev, Alena A. Alekseeva, Sergey Yu Luchkin, Zakhar S. Vinokurov, Alexander N. Shmakov, Aly Elakshar, Tanja Kallio, Albert G. Nasibulin 2023 RSC Advances

The effect of the pyrolysis temperature and biomass type on the biocarbons characteristics

Anna Iurchenkova, Anna Kobets, Zahra Ahaliabadeh, Janez Kozir, Ekaterina Laakso, Tommi Virtanen, Virpi Siipola, Jouko Lahtinen, Tanja Kallio 2023 ChemSusChem
More information on our research in the Aalto research portal.
Research portal

Research group members

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