Surface Chemistry

NAME OF THE COURSE Surface Chemistry



Year of study


Course teacher

Prof Zoran Grubač

Credits (ECTS)


Associate teachers

Type of instruction (number of hours)






Status of the course


Percentage of application of e-learning

0 %


Course objectives

Deepen the knowledge of a structure of metallic surfaces, adsorption molecules on surfaces and surface analytical techniques.

Course enrolment requirements and entry competences required for the course


Learning outcomes expected at the level of the course (4 to 10 learning outcomes)

After the course students will be able to:
- Describe the structure of metallic surfaces
- Define crystalline systems
- Determine the symmetry of unit cell
- Describe the crystal plane using Miller indices and derive the plane spacing
- Conduct complex experiments in the laboratory and interpret collected data and results of measurement
- Change the properties of the surface by conducting experiments

Course content broken down in detail by weekly class schedule (syllabus)

Structure of Metallic Surfaces, Adsorption of Molecules on Surfaces, The Langmuir Isotherm, Surface Analytical Techniques, Overlayer Structures & Surface Diffraction; Surface Imaging & Depth Profiling
1. The structure of metal surfaces. Unit cell. Crystal systems
2. Symmetry. Symmetry of the unit cell.
3. Lattice planes and Miler indices. The distance between the planes. X-ray diffraction from crystals.
4. Inorganic crystal structures. Hexagonal close packing. Cubic dense packing.
5. ccp, fcc, bcc; Positional coordinates, Bond lengths, sizes of interstitials.
6. The structure of the surface of fcc metals. The structure of the surface hcp metals.
7. Energy of solid surfaces. Relaxation and reconstruction of the surfaces.
8. Molecular adsorption. The curve of potential energy - energy of adsorption.
9. Nucleation, formation and growth of new phase
10. Langmuir adsorption isotherm, ultrahigh vacuum.
11. Methods of preparation and characterization of surfaces I.
12. Methods of preparation and characterization of surfaces II.
1. Unit cell. Calculations with unit cells
2. Miler indices. Drawing surfaces if Miler indices are known. Determination the Miler indices for a known plane.
3. Positional coordinates. Calculate the length of the bond.
4. The structure of the surface of hcp metals
5. Molecular adsorption. Adsorption kinetics.
6. 2D and 3D nucleation. Determination of the number of nuclei.
Laboratory exercises:
1. Development of electrodes for electrochemical measurements
2. Determination of the real surface area of the electrode - assessment criteria or reversibility of reaction of Fe2 + / Fe3 + at different electrodes.
3. Determination of the real surface area of the electrode - estimation by using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
4. Potentiostatic formation of oxide / hydroxide film on the electrodes of the magnesium in borate electrolyte with mathematical analysis.
5. Analysis of potentiostatic transients for 2D and 3D nucleation.

Format of instruction:

Student responsibilities


Screening student work (name the proportion of ECTS credits for eachactivity so that the total number of ECTS credits is equal to the ECTS value of the course):

Class attendance




Practical training


Experimental work








Seminar essay






Oral exam




Written exam






Grading and evaluating student work in class and at the final exam

Prior to joining the laboratory exercises, students’ knowledge of the material concerned exercises will be verified by tests. All exercises must be completed.
Students who obtain a signature from the course Surface Chemistry can take the exam. The exam consists of a written and oral examination. The student approached the oral exam must first pass a written examination. The written part of the exam lasts two hours. The written part of the exam is evaluated as follows :
Exactly solved more than 55 % - sufficient
Exactly solved more than 70 % - good
Exactly solved more than 80 % - very good
Exactly solved more than 90 % - excellent
After the written exam on the notice board of the Department will be advertised results of the exam and time when students which did not pass the written exam can view tasks and schedule for oral examinations for students which have acquired this right.
A complete examination or part thereof may be installed through two partial tests during the semester. The tests cover material presented in lectures, seminars and exercises. Written tests are evaluated in the following manner:
Exactly solved more than 55 % - released a written exam
Exactly solved by 60 % - freed written and oral - sufficient
Exactly solved by 70 % - freed written and oral - good
Exactly solved by 80 % - freed written and oral - very good
Exactly solved by 90 % - freed written and oral - excellent
It is necessary to pass all tests in order to pass the exam. Students who did not meet any of the tests must take written and oral exam of that part.

Required literature (available in the library and via other media)


Number of copies in the library

Availability via other media

G.A. Somorjai, Introduction to Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, Wiley-Interscience, New York, 1994.


K. Christmann, Introduction to Surface Physical Chemistry, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1991.


Zoran Grubač: Predavanja iz Kemije površina



Optional literature (at the time of submission of study programme proposal)

P.W. Atkins and J. de Paula, Physical Chemistry, 7th Ed., Freeman, New
York, 2002.; A. W. Adamson and A. P. Gast, Physical Chemistry of
Surfaces, 6th Ed., Wiley-Interscience, New York, 1997.

Quality assurance methods that ensure the acquisition of exit competences

- Information from interviews, observations, and consultation with students during lectures
- Student survey

Other (as the proposer wishes to add)