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Physical Chemistry and Nanotechnology of Interfaces

Working Group Prof. Kautek


Nanotechnology is the convergience of scientific disciplines:

(nach H. Pielartzik, Bayer MaterialScience AG, Leverkusen)

  • In-situ-fs-mcroscopy in an aperture-free nearfield scaaning proobe microsope (a-SNOM)
  • In-situ-fs-Laser nanostructuring in a-SNOM
  • fs-Laser excitation of  self-organization of biological, organic and inorganic solid state surfaces in the nano-scale
  • Femto-Electrochemistry with hot electrons (picosecond current pulse electrochemistry)
  • fs-Laser-Nanostructuring
  • Bioelectrochemistry: proteins, self-organization
  • Laser cleaning of artifacts (paper, parchment, textiles, polymers)
  • fs-Laser-Medicine: Ophthalmology    

The activity of “Physical Chemistry and Nanotechnology of Interfaces" relies on pioneering work for more than 15 years in demonstrating femtosecond machining down to the nanscale of a broad variety of materials soon after fs-laser got available in the early nineties. Experience exists in top-down femtosecond laser ablation allowing micro- and nanomachining of 1D, 2D, and 3D structures in metals, transparent solids and biological tissues that cannot be made any other way. A special advantage is the unique possibility of congruent machining of highly inhomogeneous composite materials. Pulse durations (<80 fs) far below the electron-phonon relaxation time in solids (>1 fs) provide the unique possibility to deterministically excite the electronic system by multi photon excitation resulting in unique precision in contrast to "conventional" fs-laser applications (>100 fs) where stochastic avalanche processes result in poor ablation qualities.

A novel optical setup coupling sub-60 fs-pulses into a high precision microscope will allow ultrahigh-precision processing. fs-pulses are necessary to avoid large heat affected zones (> 1µm) common with conventional ns-pulse lasers. Such non-linear phenomena can be exploited to reach supercritical intensities only in the focus of transparent bulk materials enabling laser direct-writing of 3D devices containing optical and microfluidic networks. This new approach to set up nano and microstructures can be applied to almost any transparent composite and functional material.

It was recently demonstrated that fs-laser-induced self assembly of nanostructures on solids opens a new approach to nano-structure surfaces bottom-up
Fs-Laser ablation of solids in liquid contact can be a process for synthesizing nanoparticles and nanotubes/nanorods Thus uniformly small particles precipitate in solution. Fs-Pulsed laser deposition can serve to transfer delicate polymeric and biopolymeric materials to any substrate (fs-Laser Induced Forward Transfer, fs-LIFT) as a microprinting process avoiding thermal damage in sharp contrast to conventional nanosecond technology in LIFT.
Electrochemical scanning force microscopy allows to investigate the molecular structure of double layers and nanomanipulate electrified interfaces.
Biolectrochemistry could be demonstrated on crystalline single layer proteins on electrodes in a longterm collaboration with the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU)


  1. Laser Ablation and its Applications
  2. Physical Chemistry of Ultrafast Laser Interactions with Solids
  3. Physico-chemical aspects of femtosecond-pulse-laser-induced surface nanostructures
  4. Ultrashort Pulse Laser Interaction with Dielectrics and Polymers
  5. Electrocrystallization in Nanotechnology
  6. "Magic Cleaner" - Umweltschonende Reinigung von Stahl
  7. Monodisperse gold nanoparticles on bacterial crystalline surface layers (S-layers) (S. Dieluweit, D. Pum, U.B. Sleytr; W. Kautek, Materials Science and Engineering C 25 (2005) 727-732)
  8. Electrodeposition of metal nanostructures using self-assembled monolayer templates (B. Völkel, G. Kaltenpoth, M. Handrea, M. Sahre, C.T. Nottbohm, A. Küller, A. Paul, W. Kautek, W. Eck, A. Gölzhäuser, Surf. Science 597 (2005) 32 41)
  9. Pulse plating of alloys (M. Halmdienst, W.E.G. Hansal, G. Kaltenhauser, W. Kautek, Transactions of the Institute of Metal Finishing 85 (2007) 22-26)
  10. Laser Cleaning of Paper and Other Organic Materials 
  11. Lasers in Cultural Heritage: The Non-Contact Intervention
  12. Ultrafast Laser Micro- and Nanostructuring
Institut für Physikalische Chemie
Universität Wien

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