Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Associate Professor Jennifer MacLeod
Head of School
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science


Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) is a tool that lets us image molecules and surfaces with atomic resolution - we can "see" individual atoms. QUT has recently acquired a microscope that lets us visualise the formation a molecular layer at the solution/solid interface, giving us unprecedented insight into how molecules can for into intricate patters at surfaces.

Research activities

This project will focus on using a small, three-dimensional molecule to create planar 2D nanoarchitectures on a surface. The molecule is 1-1’-ferrocenedicarboxylic acid, a small organometallic building block that when adsorbed flat on a surface has the potential to hydrogen bond at two different elevations.


This is exploratory work – we do not have a specific outcome in mind. We are just aiming to understand how this molecule behaves, and whether we can influence this behaviour to create new and different patterns.

We will use a combination of techniques to understand this system:

  • Computational methods, such as density functional theory, to look at the bonding strength.
  • Scanning tunnelling microscopy, which will let us directly visualise the patterns formed by the molecules on the surface with atomic resolution.

Skills and experience

This project is perfect for a physics or chemistry student interested in how nanoscale systems behave.



Contact the supervisor for more information.