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Surface Physics

The theme of surface physics encompasses the structures and dynamics of and at surfaces. The field underlies many practical disciplines such as semiconductor physics and applied nanotechnology but is also of fundamental interest.

We use synchrotron x-ray and neutron scattering measurements to provide experimental data on the structure and motion of molecular adsorbates adsorbed on surfaces. Our aim is to provide the data needed to benchmark the latest developments in the modelling of surface systems, their electronic and physical structures and the energetics and friction associated with surface motion.

Current projects focus on the surface adsorption of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of molecules key to the refinement of the modelling of dispersive forces through approaches such as density functional theory, and build on our complementary work applying helium atom scattering and scanning tunnelling microscopy to small molecules with aromatic functionality.