Surface Chemistry

Our research aims at obtaining mechanistic insight into atomic-scale chemical processes occurring at surfaces. Current research topics span from the synthesis and imaging of two-dimensional covalent organic frameworks for energy conversion, to single-atom catalysts for hydrocarbon polymerization. Special attention is given to the development of novel imaging approaches based on scanning probe microscopy, aiming at resolving photoexcited states at the atomic scale. Sub-molecular characterization of atomic-scale structures is provided by scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy (STM-AFM) and complemented by X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), which adds chemical sensitivity.

Asst.Prof. Dr. Laerte Patera

Asst.Prof. Dr. Laerte Patera



23.04.2024 - 29.04.2024

XPS beamtime at ALBA

Members of our group in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Zhiyu Zou (Harbin university, China) participated to a beamtime at the NAPP endstation of the ALBA synchrotron. We exploited near-ambient pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (NAP-XPS) to study the growth of two-dimensional organic crystals.

Benjamin Achatz


New Master student - Benjamin Achatz

Benjamin Achatz joins our group as a Master's student. He will investigate photoactive molecules on surfaces, exploiting our new LT-STM/AFM system.



DPG Conference

Marco, Matthias, and Laerte attended the 87th Annual Meeting of the DPG in Berlin. The conference featured 5634 contributions, with the largest participation from the field of surface physics. Marco and Matthias each contributed a poster presentation to the conference. Laerte gave a talk on the formation of 2D covalent organic frameworks.

Link to the conference: DPG Spring Meetings 2024



New microscope

Our group just received a new LT-STM/AFM system. The microscope has been purchased thanks to the ERC funding and will allow us to study photoexcited states at the single-molecule level!



Job opening:  PhD position on Exciton Imaging in Two-Dimensional Photoactive Materials

Join our group as a Ph.D. candidate and contribute to groundbreaking research funded by the ERC Starting Grant "WEPOF." We focus on unraveling the mysteries of excitonic phenomena within covalent organic frameworks, with the ultimate goal of advancing photoenergy conversion efficiency in these materials. More info here: Phd position


13.11.2023 - 17.11.2023

801. WE-Heraeus-Seminar “Plenty of Room at the Bottom – New Developments in Scanning Probe Tools”

Marco and Laerte attended the 801. WEH Workshop in Bad Honnef at the Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, which took place from November 13th to 17th.

The workshop was organized by Laerte, Philip Willke (KIT, Germany) and DJ Choi (CFM/MPC, Spain) and kindly supported by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation. Marco presented a poster on his recent results on the atomic-scale characterization of the boron nitride/Pt(110) interface.

Link to the conference: 801. WE-Heraeus-Seminar

Matthias Zeilerbauer


New PhD Student - Matthias Zeilerbauer

Matthias Zeilerbauer joins the reasearch group of Laerte Patera as a new PhD student.

erc logo


ERC grant

Laerte has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant. The WEPOF project aims at resolving excited states in photoactive covalent organic frameworks.

If you are looking a Bachelor's, Master's or PhD thesis, please contact us!


Institute of Physical Chemistry


Innrain 52c

A - 6020 Innsbruck


Group leader

Asst.Prof. Dr.
Laerte Patera


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