What is a mini-symposium?

A mini-symposium (MS) is a session of 4 to 6 coordinated presentations on a single topic of current interest in the domain of surface science, in accordance with the scope of the conference. The underlying idea of MS is to encourage the diversity of speakers and of the scientific topics through granting its organization to a specialist in the topic.

A MS organizer is responsible of the entire scientific programme of the MS: choice of both the topic and the speakers. The MS organizer also reviews the abstract submissions with the help of the ECOSS committee. Additionally, the MS organizer will chair the MS at the conference venue, will foster an environment for discussion during the MS, and is welcome to give a presentation during the MS. The MS organizer can be assisted with up to two co-organizers, preferably from different institutions and preferably from Widening countries.

Check out Keynote Speakers for our MS sessions here:

List of mini-symposia

MS01: Surface Astrochemistry
MS Organiser: Dario Campisi, University of Stuttgart, Germany

The study of molecular reactions at the interface of astrophysical relevant surfaces is important to shed light on the formation and delivery of organic molecules in space. In fact, molecules play important roles in the formation of galaxies, planets and ultimately life. The rich organic inventory detected in comets and meteorites is proof of the complexity of our universe. Specifically, molecular interactions occurring at the solid surface of silicate, carbonaceous and ice-covered grains are important in order to catalyze important chemical processes that will be inhibited, otherwise, by the no-equilibrium chemistry caused by the harsh conditions of space. Hence, the aim of this mini-symposium (MS) is to provide important insights of the recent work (theoretical, experimental and observational) that has been done in the field of surface science in astrochemistry with specific focus on complex organic and/or prebiotic molecules on ice, carbonaceous and/or mineral surfaces. This MS will update the community on the recent discoveries, which will lead to understanding the big picture of the role of molecular formation in space and opening the floor for discussion of new future research directions.

MS02 (part 1-3): Surface Reactions on 2D Materials and Ultrathin Oxide Films
MS Organiser: Luca Vattuone, University of Genoa and IMEM-CNR, Italy
MS Co-Organiser: Mikołaj Lewandowski, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland

The aim of the Mini-Symposium is to present the latest achievements of research on adsorption phenomena and surface catalyzed reactions occurring at 2D materials (graphene and related materials, such as hexagonal boron nitride, silicene, germanene and transition metal dichalcogenides), as well as ultrathin transition metal oxide films (FeO, MnO , ZnO, MgO, NiO, TiO2, CeO2 and other). Such materials/films have peculiar electronic structures which can significantly affect their chemical properties. The fundamental understanding of these chemical properties is expected to boost the improvement in the development of new environmentally-sustainable and more selective catalysts, as well as highly-sensitive gas sensors.
We welcome experimental and theoretical contributions addressing the role of the regular and defect sites, the support, the dopants, strain and growth methods on the chemical activity of 2D materials and ultrathin oxide films, both under ultra-high vacuum and near ambient pressure conditions.

MS03: Response of the Surface on the Ions` Bombardment: Experiments, Theoretical Models and Simulations
MS Organiser: Milena Majkić, University of Pristina-Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia
MS Co-Organiser: Dariusz Banaś, Jan Kochanowski University, Poland

The specific ion-surface combination in a defined ion energy regime and processing conditions lead to a particular surface modification, such as defect production, sputtering of the material and changes in material surface morphology. The response of the surface on the individual ion impact are different types of surface nanofeatures, such as hillocks, craters, pores, as well as cylindrical tracks formed inside the bulk.
The mini-symposium (MS) aims to provide an in-depth overview of the current status of understanding surface structural changes under ion beam irradiation, including both experimental and theoretical contributions. The elaboration of the experimental conditions necessary to get specific nanofeatures of the defined type and size, and the discussion of application of the particular theory in the interpretation of experimental results are the subject of the MS.
The program will cover the latest experiments involving irradiation of the gold nanolayers by slow highly charged ions (HCI), bombardments of different types of targets such as a-SiO2, a-Ge, GaN with swift heavy ions (SHI), irradiation of 2D materials with HCI; two-state vector model, thermal spike model, and molecular dynamic simulation, successfully applied in the area, are also the subject of the MS.

MS04: MXenes and Related Materials
MS Organiser: Agnieszka Jastrzębska, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

Since their discovery in 2011, two-dimensional (2D) transitional metal carbides, nitrides and carbonitrides, known as MXenes, have attracted global attention. They also become the most prominent family of 2D materials with many structural and chemical variables, predicted theoretically and synthesized experimentally. MXenes stand in this mini-symposium's spotlight due to their unique physicochemical properties and the multitude of corresponding applications, including optical, electronic and electromagnetic, environmental, catalysis, sensors, biomedical, as well as energy harvesting, production and storage. This mini-symposium aims at being an international forum for discussion on MXenes, including synthesis, properties and characterization. It covers all aspects of fundamental, experimental and theoretical research. MXene-based assemblies and composite structures are of interest as well as their integration into functional devices.

MS05: Optical, Vibrational, and Magnetic Properties of van der Waals Materials
MS Organiser: Maciej Molas, University of Warsaw, Poland

As surface effects play a very important role in the properties of layered vdW materials, it is very important to gather in the ECOSS36 conference not only scientists investigating directly surface effects in these materials using a kind of typical “surface” techniques, for example STEM or AFM, but also researchers using more spectroscopic techniques. Consequently, the results of the main interest in this mini-symposium are those carried out with the aid of photoluminescence, reflectance, and Raman scattering, which can give us information on the surface effects on the optical (e.g. excitons), vibrational (phonons), and magnetic (e.g. magnons). Presentations of the recent results devoted to layered vdW materials obtained using the theoretical calculations as well as “surface” techniques (e.g. STEM, AFM) are also welcome.

MS06: Xenes: Two-Dimensional Artificial Materials
MS Organiser: Christian Martella, Institute for microelectronics and microsystems (IMM) at National Research Council (CNR), Italy
MS Co-Organiser: Carlo Grazianetti, Institute for microelectronics and microsystems (IMM) at National Research Council (CNR), Italy

The advent of graphene started a revolution in physics opening a completely new field, i.e. two-dimensional (2D) materials, and attracting the interest of many scientists around the world. After the graphene isolation, the scientific and technological know-how were mature enough to afford the challenge to create artificial 2D lattices mimicking the graphene properties, giving rise to the Xenes. The Xenes, where the X element to date belongs to column III, IV, V, and VI of the periodic table, thus represent an intriguing opportunity in condensed matter physics to manipulate the properties of 2D crystals on demand. In this respect, fascinating challenges involving both theory and experiments rely on the prediction of new Xenes (including their homo- and heterostructures), their synthesis and exploitation for application in electronics, photonics, neuromorphic computing, topological matter, and so forth.
This Mini-Symposium therefore aims to bring together scientists from different areas (physics, chemistry, engineering, material science) to discuss the latest developments in the field of Xenes with a focus on both the scientific and technological aspects (but not limited to) of the synthesis, advanced characterization, theoretical predictions, engineering, processing, and device integration of the Xenes.

MS07: Orbital Angular Momentum-Based Phenomena in Quantum Materials and Their Surfaces
MS Organiser: Maximilian Ünzelmann, University of Würzburg, Germany
MS Co-Organiser: Michael Schüler, Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland

In recent years, the notion that Bloch wave functions in crystalline solids can carry finite expectation values of Orbital Angular Momentum (OAM) has become an important concept in condensed matter and surface physics. The OAM, which – in the simplest conception – can be considered as an orbital analog of the electrons spin, has proven to be a useful observable for understanding the microscopic mechanisms underlying the physics in various types of quantum materials, such as topological insulators and semimetals, transition metal dichalcogenides, or two-dimensional surface systems. Moreover, OAM has been proposed as an important new quantum degree of freedom that could be of use in so-called orbitronic devices. In this regard, orbital analogs of spintronic phenomena have been predict or rather already realized. Two key aspects – directly related to these features – are that (i) the OAM is closely related to Berry curvature, which plays a pivotal role in topological materials and (ii) OAM can addressed experimentally in a momentum-resolved manner, using dichroic angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (ARPES).
In this mini-symposium, we would like to bring together the "OAM community" as well as other interested researchers to share new ideas and push forward the elaborated concepts.

MS08: State-of-the-Art ARPES Measurements at Synchrotron
MS Organiser: Magdalena Szczepanik, Solaris, Poland
MS Co-Organiser: Natalia Olszowska, Solaris, Poland

Mini symposium aims at the recent research results in the field of angle resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (ARPES) in different energy ranges using variable polarizations of the synchrotron light. It will cover the examples of opportunities provided by two ARPES beamlines available at SOLARIS synchrotron in Poland. Those two beamlines are complementary tools to expose the fundamental parameters of electrons: energy, momentum and spin. They create a research environment that offers comprehensive studies of the electronic structure and combines lab-producing materials with theoretical calculations providing access to the largest ARPES laboratory in Poland. The first beamline, URANOS, operates at 8-170 eV of the energy range, while the second, PHELIX, delivers the light of the energy ranging from 50 to 1500 eV.
The organizers will focus on the technical possibilities (present and future) of both beamlines, including available research methods and instruments for preparation and investigation of samples: sample holders, detection methods, measurement temperatures, manipulators possibilities, thin films deposition, gas dosing etc. The other speakers will show the results obtained at either PHELIX or URANOS beamline illustrating their performance.

MS09: Single-Molecule Devices: Beyond Electronic Transport
MS Organiser: Pascal Gehring, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
MS Co-Organiser: Jan Mol, Queen Mary University of London, UK

The concept of using single molecules as building blocks of nanodevices is the core of ‘molecular electronics’ and gained enormous theoretical and experimental interest over the last decades. Single molecules are purely quantum mechanical objects – even at room temperature – and can enable numerous functionalities like quantum interference, photosensitive switching, rectification, or mechano-sensitive switching. More recently, the field of molecular electronics has evolved to offer unprecedented opportunities in the emerging areas of plasmonics, optics, spintronics, thermoelectrics and quantum information technology. Possible applications range from single molecule sensors, neuromorphic memories, spin qubits, single photon sources and thermoelectric energy conversion devices. This mini-symposium targets researchers from various disciplines including nano-scale physics, synthetic chemistry, theoretical physics/chemistry and engineering sciences, that all aim at exploiting the physical functionality of a single molecule which is tailored by chemical design, to realize next-generation functional devices.

MS10: Exploring Structure-Properties Correlation in Nanostructured Materials
MS Organiser: Sara Cerra, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Metal and metal oxide nanostructures and related nanocomposite materials are gaining attention in recent years due to their peculiar and synergistic properties that are not present in discrete components or bulk materials. Due to their nano-sized dimension, nanostructures exhibit multifunctional properties such as high surface-to-volume ratio, thermal resistance, mechanical strength, redox, catalytic, and biological activity. The properties of these nanomaterials can be tuned by choosing specific surface functionalities, ranging from hydrophilic to hydrophobic ligands. As well as per metal and metal oxide nanostructures, many nanocomposites, i.e., a class of nanomaterials wherein one or more phases at nano-sized dimension (0D, 1D, or 2D) embedded within ceramic, metal, or polymeric materials, such as polymer–metal, metal–metal oxides nanohybrid materials, carbon–metal nanomaterials, can be used for fabrication of drug delivery systems, enzymatic sensors, wastewater treatment, hydrogels, tissue engineering, energy storage/conversion systems, and material coatings among other application areas. Before application, understanding the physicochemical properties of NMs is crucial since interactions with external environments or responses to external stimuli are mainly surface driven. Towards this aim, proper use of basic and advanced characterization techniques to highlight the role of surface functionalization will allow advances for future applications.

MS11: Photoemission Tomography as a Tool for Studying Molecular Interfaces, Applications and Future Perspectives
MS Organiser: Giovanni Zamborlini, TU Dortmund, Germany
MS Co-Organiser: Peter Puschnig, University of Graz, Austria

Photoemission tomography is a combined experimental and theoretical approach that applies at molecular interfaces, providing an interpretation of the photoelectron angular distribution in terms of the molecular orbital structure of the initial state. In its most simple form, this is achieved by approximating the final state of the photoemission process by a plane wave, which makes the modulus square of the Fourier transform of the initial state orbital directly comparable to the photoelectron angular distribution intensity. This method has been very useful in the characterization of electronic properties of molecular films deposited on metals. This includes the unambiguous assignment of emissions to particular molecular orbitals, their reconstruction to real space orbitals, the deconvolution of spectra into individual orbital contributions, the extraction of detailed geometric information, and the precise description of the charge balance and transfer at the interfaces. Very recently, photoemission tomography has also been extended to the time domain, down to the femtosecond time-scale, giving access to the unoccupied molecular orbitals living above the Fermi level.
The scope of the mini symposium is to cover the recent developments into the field as well as to provide a general overview of the technique of a non-expert audience, whose research interests lay in the electronic properties of molecular interfaces and would like to know more regarding the limits and possibilities offered by this method.

MS12: Surfaces in Plasma Catalysis
MS Organiser: Roland Bliem, Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography, Netherlands

Plasma-assisted catalytic conversion (plasma catalysis) is a promising approach for the energy-efficient conversion of stable molecules such as CO2, N2, or CH4 to high-value chemicals. In plasma catalysis, a plasma discharge in the reactant stream activates also strong bonds in molecules, facilitating the difficult step of splitting molecules at the catalyst surface and enabling reactions at lower temperatures. The surface properties of the catalyst are still crucial for the reaction efficiency, selectivity, and turnover, but the different conditions and rate-limiting reaction steps in plasma catalysis call for new surface-sensitive studies.
Understanding the active state of the catalyst surface and its evolution during exposure to plasma has been recognized as essential. The study of surfaces in plasma catalysis, however, is challenging for theorists and experimentalists. Pioneering theoretical results on plasma-assisted reaction pathways suggest substantial changes in the effective energy barriers and selectivity compared to thermal catalysis. Recent experimental advances have also enabled surface-sensitive in situ spectroscopy of model catalysts in plasma.
This ECOSS symposium combines theoretical and experimental results on the interactions of plasmas with surfaces. Topics include plasma-assisted surface reactions, plasma-induced modifications of materials, as well as more general interaction of activated molecules, radicals, and ions with surfaces.

MS13: Nanostructured Materials for Enhancing Light-Matter Interactions
MS Organiser: Piotr Wróbel, University of Warsaw, Poland
MS Co-Organiser: Tomasz Stefaniuk, University of Warsaw, Poland

In the last decades, the rapid progress in chemical and physical fabrication techniques at micro- and nanometric scales resulted in the development a new class of optical materials. Considerable research attention has been drawn to the metallic and semiconducting nanostructures that exhibit unique optical properties connected to the excitation of collective oscillations of free electrons at the structured metal surface. These oscillations, called surface plasmons, lead to high electromagnetic field enhancement, confinement to the nanometric features, and extraordinary sensitivity to the surface events. Exploration of surface plasmon-associated effects opened the route to study light-matter interactions in the subwavelength volumes and discovering of enhanced absorption, strong coupling in organic-inorganic systems, or hot carrier generation leading to new concepts of ultra-compact and efficient photonic devices, sensors, or renewable energy sources.
This MS on Nanostructured materials for enhancing light-matter interactions is intended to cover a wide range of topics regarding the basics and applications of metallic and semiconducting nanostructures to present to the audience the latest advances in this field. This includes modeling methods, fabrication and characterization techniques, as well as optical properties of nanostructured materials used in such applications as photovoltaics, biosensors, and ultrafast photonic devices.

MS14: Atomic Scale Mineral-Water Interfaces
MS Organiser: Jan Balajka, TU Wien, Austria
MS Co-Organisers: Johannes Lützenkirchen, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Chao Zhang, Uppsala University, Sweden

The mineral-water interface is at the heart of many processes occurring in nature. Dissolution and weathering control soil formation and shape the Earth’s landscape. Ice nucleation on mineral dust particles regulates atmospheric processes and weather patterns. In industry, oxide surface chemistry is central to many sustainable technologies from catalysis to clean energy production. All these macroscopic processes originate at the fundamentally smallest, i.e. the atomic, scale.
The mini-symposium on Atomic scale mineral-water interfaces aims to bring together scientists from related but often disconnected fields of surface science, interfacial chemistry, and geochemistry. The topics include atomically-resolved imaging and spectroscopic studies of mineral surfaces and their interaction with water, computational studies of oxide-water interfaces, surface chemistry of oxides in aqueous media, heterogeneous ice nucleation on mineral surfaces, etc.

MS15: At the Junction between Surface Chemistry and Physic: the Complementary Application of Surface Zeta Potential and Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy
MS Organiser: Silvia Spriano, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
MS Co-Organisers: Urszula Stachewicz, AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland
Piotr Warszyński, Jerzy Haber Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Surface potential and surface charge sensing techniques give complementary information useful for theoretical and applied investigations. As an example, the interface phenomena that happen at the solid–liquid interface are strictly connected to the presence of surface charges and they are critical for chemical, engineering, and biological processes: sensing, catalysis, corrosion prevention, biocompatibility, colloids or nanoparticles production and use. Surface potential/charge detecting methods can be categorized into two groups : direct potential measurement (such as Kelvin probe force microscopy) and zeta potential measurements with electrokinetic measurements or optical detection techniques.
Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) allows nanoscale imaging of surface potential for a variety of materials with high lateral spatial resolution. This technique has been widely used to measure the localized surface potential of metals, semiconductors, ceramics, polymers, biomaterials in the air or in polar/non-polar liquids. Compared to other measurement techniques, KPFM has excellent spatial resolution and relatively high potential sensitivity.
Zeta potential measurements are widely used for the characterization of colloidal suspensions but are actually poorly explored in the study of solid surfaces. Zeta potential titration curves as the function of pH can give significant information about the presence of functional groups, and their chemical reactivity.