Thin Films and Surfaces Group

This is an IOP special interest group, which is a community of IOP members focused on a particular discipline, application or area of interest. Special interest groups allow members to connect and share knowledge and ideas. The IOP funds groups to deliver a range of activities including events, prizes and bursaries. All of our groups are driven by members.

About the group 

The group stimulates and supports research. It disseminates information and organises meetings and conferences where academic and industrial scientists can discuss the most recent advances.

Our fields of interest include:

  • electronic, vibrational and structural aspects of surfaces, as well as surfaces covered with thin adlayers, and nanostructured surfaces
  • preparation and growth of thin films and multilayers, as well as nanostructuring methods, and the study of their structural, physical and chemical properties
  • development and evaluation of new techniques, and the extension of existing ones, for the characterisation of thin films and surfaces
  • characterisation of surfaces and interfaces of materials of technological interest by a wide variety of physical and chemical techniques
  • reactions at surfaces, including molecule surface interactions, adsorption/desorption phenomena, surface dynamics and chemical reactions

What the group does

We organise a major conference interdisciplinary conference on surfaces every two years and we support other conferences on thin films.

We arrange shorter meetings for specialist interests. These are often organised as joint meetings when the subjects overlap with other groups.

We actively support education in the area of surface science and thin films and regularly run summer schools in the area. We held events in Cambridge in 2016 and 2018. 

We look to liaise closely with similar specialist groups in other institutes and societies and to host joint meetings.

Would you like to join this group?

Group physics prizes and competitions 

Woodruff Thesis Prize

The annual prize is for the best PhD thesis by a student member of the group.  It was established to encourage and recognise high quality research and scientific writing in the field of thin films and surface science. The prize is £250.

Submissions should include:

  • a completed nomination form (Word, 103KB) submitted to the chair of the group (Andrew Jardine at any time before the closing date of 30 April 2020
  • an electronic copy of the thesis
  • a PDF copy of the final version of the thesis, including minor corrections,
  • confirmation that the thesis was successfully examined for a PhD and has a 2019 viva date;  the final version, including any minor corrections, must have been submitted before the competition closing date
  • a small section that reflects the highlights of the thesis



Dr Peter Townsend

Department of Physics, University of Cambridge, For Diffusion of light adsorbates on transition metal surfaces.


Dr Thomas James Whittles

University of Liverpool. For Electronic Characterisation of Earth-Abundant Sulphides for Solar Photovoltaics.


Dr Alexander Rosu-Finsen

Heriot-Watt University. For Icy Dust Grains in the Interstellar Medium: Their Properties and Impact.


Joint winner

Dr Demian Marchione

Heriot-Watt University. For Thermal and Non-Thermal Processes of Simple Molecules on Model Interstellar Ices.

Joint winner

Dr Hannah Aitchison

University of St Andrews. For Self-Assembly of Monolayers of Aromatic Carboxylic Acid Molecules on Silver and Copper Modified Gold Surfaces at the Liquid-Solid Interface.


Dr Ada Della Pia

Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick. For Using Electrostatic Interactions to Control Supramolecular Self-Assembly at Surfaces.


Dr Catherine Doyle

Trinity College Dublin, Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) for An Investigation of the Structural and Electronic Properties of Covalently Bonded Molecular Networks on Metal Surfaces Formed Through Debromination Reactions.


Dr David Duncan

Department of Physics, University of Warwick for Adsorbate structure determination using energy scanned photoelectron diffraction


Dr Natalia Garcia-Rey

Department of Chemistry, University of Liverpool, for Interaction of a Copper Surface with Light: Plasmons, Electrons & Molecular Vibrations.

Group events

Find group events on the IOP events portal.


Summer 2020 (PDF, 500KB)
Winter 2020
 (PDF, 579KB)
Summer 2019 (PDF, 746KB)
Winter 2018 (PDF, 863KB)
Summer 2018 (PDF, 676KB)
Winter 2017 (PDF, 449KB)
Winter 2016 (PDF, 1.85MB)
Summer 2015 (PDF, 1.5MB)
March 2013 (PDF, 1.69MB)

Committee and contacts

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