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The Metallurgy and Surfaces research group is conducting research on new intermetallic compounds by studying their structure and properties at the atomic scale, with a particular focus on their surface properties.

These intermetallics are characterized by a large unit cell containing from several tens to several thousands of atoms, arranged into interconnected high-symmetry clusters. Quasicrystals are the ultimate case. They are long-range ordered materials but they lack the translational periodicity characterizing usual crystals. They exhibit classically forbidden symmetries, such as 5-fold or 10-fold rotational symmetries. These complex intermetallics can be found in a large number of binary and ternary systems. Quasicrystalline structures can also occur as 2D oxides or in self-organized molecular thin films.

These materials can have remarkable surface properties (reduced wetting and friction, good corrosion resistance, low thermal conductivity, high catalytic activity and selectivity, etc.). They can find applications as coating materials, as reinforcement particles in composites or as new catalysts for the chemical industry.

Its research seeks for a fundamental understanding of the origin of these properties. Its activities include:

  • Metallurgy of complex intermetallics: synthesis of novel compounds, physical characterization, single crystal growth,
  • Experimental investigations of their structure and properties using surface science methods under ultrahigh vacuum conditions (scanning tunneling microscopy, photoemission spectroscopy, low energy electron diffraction, scanning Auger microscopy, electron microscopy).


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