in the lab
Original Published Date: 
Monday, September 20, 2021

Full article issued by Queensland University of technology (QUT).

Dr Vishakya Jayalatharachchi, ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Awardee Associate Professor Jennifer MacLeod and Associate Professor Josh Lipton-Duffin from the QUT School of Chemistry and Physics, and the QUT Centre for Materials Science have found a way to grow crystal islands that could halve the time and cost of some science experiments. 

'We grew two different types of silver crystal islands on the same silicon surface and were able to simultaneously use them to investigate molecular adsorbates – molecules that we stick to the surface,' Associate Professor MacLeod says.

'It does better than cutting experimentation time in half and has the advantage of ensuring that our conditions are identical for two simultaneous experiments, removing uncertainty from interpretation.

'Our study focused on silver because it is so useful for surface science experiments, but it's likely that we could see a similar result with other metals.'

Surface science explores physical and chemical reactions of gases and liquids on solids and is important for making semiconductors used in computers, mobile phones and other electronics.

It led to the process that produced ammonia for fertiliser used in agriculture, the development of better catalysts for chemical processing, and has advanced our understanding of batteries.

The new technique promises to greatly simplify and cut the cost of surface science experiments, which can take several hours to days to run, and may cost up to $50,000.

Photo credit: 

Associate Professor Josh Lipton-Duffin , Dr Vishakya Jayalatharachchi and Associate Professor Jennifer MacLeod have found a way to grow crystal islands that could halve the time and cost of some science experiments. Credit: QUT