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Surface Science-The Story of Two Dimensions

Surface Science-The Story of Two Dimensions

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Yang An. Originally submitted for Integrating Chemistry at University of St. Andrews, with lecturer Dr. Alan Aitken in the category of Mathematical & Physical Sciences
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Yang An. Originally submitted for Integrating Chemistry at University of St. Andrews, with lecturer Dr. Alan Aitken in the category of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/27/2013

 
 
Surface Science-TheStory of TwoDimensions
This essay is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the UndergraduateAwards
 
Abstract
Surface science is a vital branch of scientific research, which possesses a prominenthistory and promising future. In this essay, various historically underlining researchand investigations in this field are introduced and briefly discussed. The evolution of Langmuir adsorption isotherm is described along with the development andbreakthrough of experimental techniques, such as low energy electron diffraction(LEED), ultra-high vacuum (UHV) and Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES). Severalrecent studies concerning the incorporation of nickel metal onto gold surfaces andself-assembling monolayer adsorption are reviewed as well as its fundamentalHenderson adsorption isotherm. Future development of surface science would bespeculated and explained in the last part of the essay.
 
Introduction
Surfaces and interfaces are commonly and
frequently seen in people’s daily lives. A
shoe rubbing against the floor forms a solid-solid interface. Cold wind blowing onto awindow shows a solid/gas interface. Cooking oil sitting on top of water represents aliquid-liquid interface and the oil also forms a liquid/gas interface with the air.Magnetic surfaces incorporated in a compact disk store digital data. Nature alsomakes use of surfaces; plant leaves have evolved into high surface area structures tomore efficiently absorb sunlight and transform CO
2
and H
2
O into sugars and oxygen.The human intestine has enormously large surface area exposed to liquid so nutritionand gas exchange can process quickly. Many aspects of science have deployed theproperties of surface. For example, minimizing the size of integrated microelectroniccircuits increases their surface/volume ratio and unit area performance, while opticalsurfaces inside glass fibers facilitates signal transition through total internalreflectance. Chemically activated metal surfaces act as catalysts for synthesizingammonia and can also extract O
2
and N
2
from air. A lot of resources and efforts havebeen spent to further understand the properties of surfaces and make better use of them. This essay will mainly focus on the chemical and physical aspects of surfacescience. The first part will briefly discuss the history of surface science in terms of theory, technology and application, where some of the major inventions anddiscoveries will be highlighted. The second part will focus on three cases of recentresearch and their potential future development.

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