My area of research in condensed matter physics is experimental surface science at the nano-scale. The field is driven by the quest for smaller, faster, brighter and longer-lived in the development of electronic, magnetic, and photonic devices resulting in ever greater miniaturization and growing importance of surfaces, interfaces, and thin films as surface- to-volume ratios increase. The physical properties of low- dimensional structures are in general very different from those of bulk matter. If at least one dimension of such structures is small enough that quantum-mechanical effects become important, their electronic, magnetic, and catalytic behavior is particularly fascinating. Our research involves the study of the interplay of electronic, vibrational and structural surface properties at the atomic scale.
In one of our NSF funded research projects e.g. we are exploring the driving forces in self-assembly, a powerful natural method for the growth of nanodevices on strained crystal surfaces. Here we are in particularly interested in the kinetics and thermodynamics of nanostructure formation. Specific measurement techniques in ultra-high vacuum include atomic resolution scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and photoelectron spectroscopy utilizing synchrotron radiation sources. My research group is also involved in the development and construction of scanning probe microscopes for imaging at the nanoscale.