Surfaces & Interfaces
Some of the most important chemical and physical processes on our planet occur at a surface or interface. The surface of a medium whether it be a liquid or a solid has very special properties which are often quite distinct from the bulk substance. For example, the surface of water has a very high surface tension, allowing more dense objects to float on top of it. The surface of a semiconductor can have very different electronic properties than the bulk due to the molecular orbitals of the surface atoms which are left “dangling” as the bulk lattice is terminated. In the biochemical area, most drugs act by interaction with substances at cell surfaces and surface chemistry plays an important role in the events that govern such processes. Several research groups are involved in studies of surfaces and interfaces at the University of Oregon that examine a range of environmentally, biologically and technologically important surfaces and interfaces using a wide range of methods and techniques.