Materials Science: The Surface of Materials in Technological Applications

Course Leader: Dr Israel Temprano

Home Institution: University of Cambridge, UK

Course pre-requisite: Undergraduate level

Course Overview
The behaviour of atoms and molecules at surfaces has a central role in many areas of great academic and industrial importance such as heterogeneous catalysis, functionalised materials, nanotechnology, electronics, 2D (graphene-like) materials, novel chemical and biological sensors, chirality, etc. The field of surface science is key in today’s global economy (35% of global GDP depends on heterogeneous catalysis) and paramount in the development of novel materials and technologies.

The aim of this course is to provide an insight into the key issues that underpin current understanding and characterization of solid-state surfaces. We will consider the behaviour over a range of length scales, from the atomistic mechanisms involved in surface-mediated reactions to the macroscopic, thermodynamic description of adsorption. The material will be eminently practical with case studies and discussions that will provide an insightful view of the cutting edge research performed in a wide range of scientific topics. It will also provide a firm foundation for those considering a deeper study of surfaces and related areas such as nanoscience, bioscience, colloids and catalysis.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to recognise the importance of the materials of choice and their surfaces in a wide range of technological applications. They should also have a good understanding of their relevance to other scientific disciplines as well as having a strong foundation of their scientific study and how to interpret the relevant scientific literature

Course Content
This course will introduce students to the study of the properties of the surfaces of relevant materials. It will describe the relevance of this crucial part of important materials in the most important industries. In it, we will study the most relevant types of surfaces, their properties and main differences. We will study in detail the scientific field of surface science and the special techniques required for the study of the surfaces of solid materials. We will review the relevant scientific literature on the subject related to several crucial scientific fields and the individual fields of interest of the students with practical cases and lively discussions

Instructional Method
The course will consist of a series of lectures with special emphasis in the scientific research related to surfaces in technological applications. The sessions will include discussions on the particular points of interest to the students and their individual fields of study. Seminars will also be a part of the course in which relevant scientific literature will be assessed and discussed in relation to their field of interest. 

Required Course Materials
No materials required. Access to a computer and email address is desired but not mandatory.

The evaluation of the students will be based on oral presentations at the end of the course of relevant scientific articles chosen by the students relating the study of the properties of surfaces with their individual field of interest. The selection of the articles to be presented will be previously discussed and agreed between the student and the teacher on an individual basis. The presentations will be assessed on the level of understanding the student will display on the relevance of the issue tackled by the article, the appropriateness of the approach and techniques used, the validity of the data presented and a discussion on the conclusions made by the authors. The rest of the students will be encouraged to participate in the discussion after each presentation and they will also be evaluated based on their contribution to it.