Surface sTructure and Reactivity at the Atomic Scale

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Welcome to the webpage of the STM STRAS group at CNR-IOM!

We are an experimental research group investigating the structural and electronic properties of solid surfaces at the nanoscale, with specific interest in describing their evolution during surface processes. Our current research activities focus on organic heterostructures, graphene growth and catalytic processes.
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News: we are now available for Master thesis! Contact us for more info!

Research highlights


Graphene growth on Ni(111)
Top: STM images and sketch of surface carbide conversion to graphene;
Bottom: µ-ARPES plots and sketch of decoupling process by interlayer buffering.
Patera et al, ACS Nano 7, 7901-7912 (2013)
Africh et al, Sci. Rep. 6, 19734 (2016)



Coupling and detaching of graphene edges from a Ni substrate
Top: lateral sketch, Fast-STM image (acquired in 250 ms) and model of a substrate-passivated graphene edge at high temperature;
Bottom: lateral sketch, Fast-STM image (acquired in 250 ms) and model of a hydrogen-passivated graphene edge at room temperature.
Patera et al, Nano Lett. 15, 56-62 (2015)



Dimethyl sulfide (DMSO) complexes on Au(111)
Top and middle: STM experimental  images
Bottom: models of the geometries obtained by DFT calculations, where the green balls represent gold adatoms trapped by the DMSO molecules.
Z. Feng et al, ACS Nano 9, 8697 (2015)



Organic layers on Au(111)
Top: Schematic representation of phenyl-boronic acid (PBA) and triphenylboroxine (TPB) molecules (left) and of the suggested hydrogen bonding network of PBA trimers forming the second molecular layer on a gold surface (right).
Bottom: STM images of the monolayer (left) and of the 1.5 layer (right). Blue and red triangles indicate the size and shape of the TPB molecule and PBA trimers forming the first and second layer, respectively
D.Toffoli et al, Chem. Sci. 8, 3789 (2017)