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Interfaces and catalysis


  • Two-dimensional materials
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Homogenous and electro-catalysis
  • Bioelectrocatalysis
  • Biological adhesion
  • Ccolloids
  • Surface functionalization
  • Self-assembly

Bridging fundamental studies and technology development

The ‘Interfaces and Catalysis’ area contains major research programmes bridging from fundamental studies to technology development within catalysis, two-dimensional (2D) materials, coatings, molecular networks, and nano-interfaces under biological and atmospheric conditions.

The activities within this research area involves three overall topics: catalysis; 2D materials and surface nanostructures; nano-interfaces under biological and atmospheric conditions. Read more about the activities below.

Further down you can find the group leaders involved in this research area.


Within the Carbon Dioxide Activation Center (CADIAC), a strong research activity is aimed at catalytic CO2 conversion. The research focuses on homogeneously catalysed routes to CO2 valorization (Skrydstrup) and development of nanostructured catalysts for electrocatalytic and photocatalytic conversion of CO2 (Daasbjerg, Lock).  An inexpensive and scalable electrochemical set-up for performing a variety of Pd‑catalysed carbonylation reactions using CO2 have been developed. In addition, there are activities on synthesis and characterization of electrocatalyst surfaces and materials, e.g. for electrochemical water splitting (Dong, Lauritsen) and bioelectrocatalysis (Ferapontova). In a fundamental study using one of the homebuilt atom-resolved fast-scanning Aarhus STMs, it was possible to visualize the water splitting process on a novel Co-oxide catalyst. Within heterogeneous catalysis and photocatalysis, there are also strong activities on characterization and synthesis, with emphasis on environmental catalysis and green fuels production.  Synthesis of nanocatalyst materials is investigated by solvothermal (supercritical) synthesis of nanoparticles (Iversen). Oxides and zeolite-based catalysts are investigated extensively with solid-state NMR spectroscopy (Skibsted). Surface science activities are aimed at model studies of nanocatalysts using vacuum and operando surface science techniques (Lauritsen). iNANO has strong catalysis industry links, among others to the major Danish catalyst producer, Topsøe A/S who is actively using iNANO infrastructure (SPM, TEM, NMR). Within organic synthesis, homogenous transition metal catalysts for  the creation of carbon–carbon and carbon–heteroatom bonds are developed, e.g. for pharmaceuticals, isotope labeling (Skrydstrup). Development and process understanding for conversion of biomass by hydrothermal liquefaction is studied (Glasius).

2D Materials and surface nanostructures

Research is focused on the on-surface synthesis and characterization of 2D materials and molecular nanostructures. Band gap engineering, nanostructuring and functionalization of h-BN, graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides together with the synthesis of hybrid 2D materials is studied by surface science methods (Hornekær) including angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (Miwa). Within coatings, corrosion protection by graphene and graphene coated nanoparticles is pursued (Hornekær) together with the development of novel functional coatings on responsive polymers, smart hybrid materials and composites (Daasbjerg). Several industry projects and spin-out activities within bonding and adhesion are based on a novel polymer brush technology developed by iNANO researchers (Daasbjerg). Additional activities involve studies of nanostructured 2D materials as membranes and in electronic devices (Dong). Self-assembly and on-surface synthesis of molecular architectures, including dynamic molecular processes, are studied by UHV surface science techniques (Linderoth).

Nano-interfaces under biological and atmospheric conditions

Major activities concern antifouling and bio-adhesion on interfaces and nanoparticles (Meyer, Ferapontova, Sutherland, Foss) and encompass efforts to mimic and study processes at bio-interfaces occurring in vitro and in vivo, including DNA interactions, protein adhesion, cell adhesion, single cell interactions, receptor-ligand interactions and cell signaling. Sensory devices aimed at detecting bio-adhesion and electrochemistry within bio-interfaces is developed based on plasmonically active nanostructures (Sutherland). The research is at the technological forefront with several industry collaborations aimed at antifouling or development of dental and medical implants and tissue engineering (Foss, Nygaard). Development of new SPM-technologies for bio-imaging and manipulation of bacteria on surfaces is a key activity, including pioneering development of small capillary SPM probes for scanning conductance microscopy for studies of lipid bilayers (Dong).  The bio-interface is furthermore studied in terms of nanotoxicology, and a recent study revealed how weakly attached proteins, in the so-called protein soft corona, can influence nanoparticle toxicity (Sutherland). Key questions on the chemistry of aerosols and airborne nano-particles under atmospheric conditions are addressed by advanced chemical analysis methods (AURA facility) (Glasius, Bilde).

Group leaders within Interfaces and Catalysis

Agarwala, Shweta


  • Biodegradable Electronic Materials, Printed and Flexible Electronics, Bioelectronics, Nanoelectronic Devices, Healthcare and point-of-care devices

Andersen, Mie


Heterogeneous catalysts, Surface Science, Astrochemistry, Density Functional Theory, Machine Learning, Microkinetic Modelling, Computational Screening, Metal Oxides, Metal/Oxide Interfaces, CO2 hydrogenation

Besenbacher, Flemming

Bilde, Merete


Physical chemistry, Atmospheric physical chemistry, Aerosols, Chemistry in climate

Bøjesen, Espen Drath


Electron Microscopy, Disordered Materials, Structure, Electron Diffraction, 4D-STEM, Diffuse Scattering, Statistical STEM.

Daasbjerg, Kim


Carbon Dioxide, Graphene, Polymer Brushes, Materials Science, Electrochemistry.

Dong, Mingdong


Atomic Force Microscopy, Nanodevices, Size-dependent properties, Low Dimensional materials, Nanomechanics, Electronic materials, Surface Science, Functional Nanomaterals.

Ferapontova, Elena


Bioelectronics, Antifouling Surfaces, Electrocatalysis, Bioelectrocatalysis, Electroenzymatic Biotransformation, Biofuel Cells, Bioelectronic Sensing, Long-Range Electron Transfer, Biomedical Diagnostic Devices, Environmental Monitoring Sensors.

Foss, Morten


Biomedical Surfaces, Implants, Non-Fouling Coatings, Large-Scale Screening, Micro- and Nanofabrication.

Glasius, Marianne


Chemical Analysis, Atmospheric Chemistry, Mass Spectrometry, Biofuels, Aerosols.

Goesten, Maarten


 Superconductivity, Two-dimensional materials, Heterogeneous catalysis, Self-assembly

Hofmann, Philip


Electronic structure, angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, synchrotron radiation, ultrafast electron dynamics

Hornekær, Liv


Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, Graphene, Functionalized Surfaces, Graphene Coatings, Band Gap Engineering, Graphene Coated Nanoparticles.

Iversen, Bo Brummerstedt


Materials chemistry, materials crystallography, synchrotron and neutron scattering, thermoelectrics, batteries, catalysis, chemical bonding, electron density, nanoparticles, supercritical fluids

Lauritsen, Jeppe Vang


Catalysis, Surface Science, Scanning Probe Microscopy, Energy Materials, Surface structures, Metal oxides, Nanoparticles, Electrocatalysis, 2D materials, MoS2, Hydrotreating Catalysis, Single-atom Catalysis, Water Splitting, SCR catalysis, NOx removal.

Linderoth, Trolle René


Surface Science, Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, Molecular Self-Assembly, Dynamic Surface Processes, Surface Chirality, Ultra-high vacuum surface science, Molecular self-assembly, On-surface synthesis, Metal-organic coordination networks, Bio-molecular self-assembly, Surface diffusion and conformational dynamics, Chiral recognition, Electrospray deposition.

Meyer, Rikke Louise


Biofilms, Bacterial Adhesion,, Single-Cell Interactions,, Antimicrobial Compounds,, Antifouling Surfaces, Receptor-ligand interactions, Adhesive biomolecules, Antimicrobial formulations for food preservation.

Miwa, Jill


Buried interfaces, Delta-layers, Photo-electron spectroscopy, Electronic material.

Nielsen, Niels Christian


Coming soon

Nygaard, Jens Vinge


Biomechanics, Biomaterials, Materials and Tissue Engineering.

Ravnsbæk, Dorthe


Materials Chemistry, Energy Materials, Batteries, Nano- and atomic-scale structure, Electrochemistry, in situ and operando methods

Skibsted, Jørgen


Solid-State NMR, Portland Cement, CO2 Emission, Heterogeneous Catalysis, Materials Research.

Skrydstrup, Troels


Homogeneous Catalysis, Carbon Dioxide Conversion, Carbonylation Reactions, Reactor design, Gaseous Reagents, Carbon isotope-labeling.

Sutherland, Duncan


NanoopticsPlasmonics, Optical metamaterials, Chirooptical materials, Thermal management materials, Biomaterials, Bio and chemical sensors, Protein coronas, Biointerfaces, Nanotoxicology, Cell Instructive Materials, Bacterial adhesion, Plasmons, 2D Materials, Stem Cells, Non-Fouling Surfaces, Astringency, Extra Cellular Matrix, Cell Adhesion Molecule.

Weidner, Tobias


Surface spectroscopy, Femtosecond Spectroscopy, Protein Structure, Biomimetic Design, Surface Modification, Membrane Proteins, Ultrafast Molecular Motion, Interfacial Water