Project description

The aim of this subproject is to understand the interac-tion of simple carboxylic acids with selected metal oxides and nanostructures in a molecular and atomic scale to find the foundations for the construction and control of the mechanical and electrical properties of novel multiscale material systems. The focus of our investigations is on oleic acid. However, we also study formic acid, the smallest organic acid with the same ending functional group as oleic acid. Fe3O4 and TiO2 are the relevant metal oxides in our study. In order to understand the basic interaction mechanisms of the organic acids with Fe3O4 and TiO2 on an atomic scale, a systematic approach is planned, which combines surface physical experiments with oxide nanoparticles in in-situ experiments under controlled ultra-high vacuum and ambient conditions.

The fundamental studies at DESY NanoLab will be carried out by several surface techniques, such as X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIRS), surface diffraction (XRD) and probe microscopy technologies (AFM, STM, SEM), combined with laboratory and synchrotron-based surface-sensitive X-ray diffraction.

This comprehensive approach provides detailed information on the bonding ratios at the fatty acid /oxide interfaces, the intermolecular bonds, and the crystallographic structure of the interfaces and nanoparticles.

Project leader

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Andreas


surface spectroscopy (XPS, FTIR)

surface XRD

probe microscopy (AFM, STM, SEM)


interfaces                         carboxylic acids


1. A. Dreyer et al.: Organically linked iron oxide nanoparticle supercrystals with exceptional isotropic mechanical properties. Nature Materials 15, 522-528, 2016 - with A1, A2, Z3

... and more on the list of publications.


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