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Physics and Chemistry of Functional Interfaces

Module PH2166

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2018

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2022SS 2021SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018SS 2013

Basic Information

PH2166 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered every semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 30 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2166 in the version of SS 2018 was Anna Cattani-Scholz.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


The newest developments in microelectronics, energy conversion, and sensing device design are tied very closely to our ability to develop new hybrid systems where molecular and electronic control of the structure is key. The optimization of interfaces in different inorganic-organic device systems depends strongly on our level of control and understanding of both the molecular chemical processes involved on surfaces and the effects on the electronic states. The module is devoted to achieve a fundamental understanding of the physical, chemical, biological, structural, and electrical properties of these complex heterostructures. In particular the module will focus on the structure of crystalline solids and surface lattices, origins of surface reactivity and growth processes, interfacial phenomena and change of energy levels in heterostructure optimization, and on the formation of organic nanostructures and bioorganic films. Moreover current highlights in the literature on the application of functional interface on semiconductor devices will be discussed. In addition a short overview of the mostly applied characterization tools and novel surface imaging and spectroscopy techniques applied in the field will be given.

Learning Outcome

After participation in the module the students are able to

  • understand how electrical and chemical properties can be modulated in functional interfaces.
  • understand different areas of application of surface functionalization.
  • evaluate the importance of heterostructure formation in device optimization.
  • understand the basics of the most common used characterization techniques in the field.


Curiosity and openness for interdisciplinary fields.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lecture: In a scientific discussion the students are involved to stimulate their analytic skills. Case studies from the literature will be presented to understand recent technological breakthroughs in the field. Short interactive tutorials in chemistry and semiconductor physics will be given to support the students in following some basic interdisciplinary concepts.


Lecture Material (Power Point Presentations), video tutorials, collaborative learning in small groups, lab visits.


F.Tao and S. L. Bernasek, “Functionalization of Semiconductor Surfaces”, Wiley

A. W. Adamson, A. P. Gast, “Physical Chemistry of Surfaces”, Wiley

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 25 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions and sample calculations.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • You will be given a hypothetical system to analyze: You will need to propose a set of experimental techniques to solve the problem and propose a possible outcome.
  • Explain the chemical and physical consequences of surface-state-induced band bending.
  • Explain why the reactivity of [2+2] cycloaddition of cyclopentene on Si (100)-(2x 1) is ca. 10 times faster than that on Ge (100)-(2 x 1) surface.
  • Analyze one of the papers presented in the literature about the application of organic functional interfaces in device optimization.

There will be voluntary graded mid-terms. If better than the grade of the module exam these will be included into the module grade with the given percentage. The offered mid-terms are:

  • The student gives one short presentation during the lecture on a selected case study from the literature (15%).
  • Solution of one homework assignment (15%).

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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