Oxide nanostructures in low dimensions on well-defined metal surfaces form novel hybrid systems with tremendous potential and impact in fundamental research and for the emerging nanotechnologies. The focus of the project is on the fabrication of two-, quasi-one-, and quasi-zero-dimensional oxide nanostructure model systems suitable for elucidation of their emergent properties in terms of structure, electronics, magnetism, and catalytic chemistry. This will be achieved by controlled self-assembly in ultrahigh vacuum, with atomic-scale precision, and in-situ characterisation employing the full palette of modern surface science methodology. Established kinetic preparation routes as well as a new approach to steer the self-assembly via external fields will be applied to the growth of a variety of transition metal oxides on suitable substrate surface templates. The stabilisation mechanism of polar oxide surfaces in nanoscale oxide objects, the catalytic chemistry of a nanoscale inverse model catalyst consisting of oxide nanowires coupled to an array of one-dimensional metal step atoms, and the magnetic properties of a surface-supported oxide quantum dot superlattice will be among the emergent phenomena to be probed in this project. Such fundamental questions will be addressed in a close collaboration between state-of-the-art experimental and theoretical techniques. The possibility to separate dimensionality from nanoscale effects made possible by the model systems created here will add an extra dimension in the understanding of oxide nanophase systems.
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