1 August 2016 - 15 October 2016
I am very grateful to MAPEX for the great opportunity to become an active part in a collaboration between the University of Florida in Gainesville and the University of Bremen that has been maintained for several years, now. My research stay at the University of Florida in the group of Prof. Weaver was very positive in each regard.
Weavers group is well known for their expertise on catalysis at rare earth oxides. I had an opportunity to work with other PhD students on characterizing the structure and growth of terbia films on Pt(111) using ultrahigh vacuum techniques. It was great to work with so many people of diverse background, focused on the same project and I really enjoyed the productive atmosphere. To characterize the surface structures of our 'model catalysts' we had access to many techniques such as Auger Electron Spectroscopy and Low-energy electron diffraction that were familiar to me from my work group in Bremen. Besides, we were able to analyze changes in the surface structure on an atomic scale with scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). We learned a lot from each other, exchanged our ideas, and thereby got a good insight into the structure of metal dopants on terbia films.
Being now able to work with STM will very much broaden my experimental toolset in the future. Based on our insight into how the terbia films form on the platinum substrate, deliberately modifying the chemical properties of the terbia films with metal dopingis the next goal of the project. The Weaver group and I are already planning for a next research stay in Gainesville to continue with the analysis of metal dopants on rare earth oxides.