Surfaces and Interfases

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Contact: Dr. Celso M. Aldao
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Object of study

All objects have surfaces and almost all interactions with the outside world take place through them. In fact, surfaces play a key role in our daily lives as countless technological applications are based on the processes that occur there. Thus, ninety percent of essential chemicals are obtained with processes involving heterogeneous catalytic phenomena taking place on a surface, and modern electronic devices base their operation on phenomena occurring at semiconductor surfaces and interfaces. In these and other fields, morphological details, such as defects or nanoscale atomic, crucially influence, for example in response to the electronic devices.

 Areas of Research
Our work focuses on several areas in which various interfacial phenomena play a fundamental role. It includes the following.

Nanostructure formation by etching and growth

Our basic research on the formation and growth of nanostructures by anisotropic etching include material removal and the effects of adsorbates on the surface (100) of silicon and electrodeposition growth. Etching is a process that is used to configure surfaces; it involves the removal of material and the consequent alteration of the surface morphology. Our aim is to relate the resulting morphology due to the deposition and removal of material and the presence of adsorbates with the phenomena taking place at the atomic level. Trough the application of computational models we interpret experimental results by testing different mechanisms and their possible effects.

Gas detection with metal oxide films

Gas sensors based on semiconducting oxides allow monitoring and control of flammable or toxic gases in the air. In particular, due to the high selectivity and sensitivity of tin oxide sensors, compared to other ceramic, they are widely used to detect very low concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO). Given its toxicity, the maximum concentration of CO permitted in work environments is only 0.003%. CO can be produced anywhere (if there is enough fuel material, a flame and poor ventilation) and is odorless. Heaters, water heaters and stoves, and evacuation systems, can become lethal instruments that are in our homes. For this reason, we concentrate our efforts on the detection of this gas.

Catalysts and adsorbers in water treatment plants and refineries

 Our work focuses on determining diffusion, adsorption and reaction parameters in porous media. To do this, we develop analytical and computational models that are used in the design and construction of reactors. The processes studied are of wide application in:

a) Treatment of water for human and industrial consumption by removing arsenic and other contaminants in addition to softening and demineralization.

b) Cracking of hydrocarbons in commercial Y zeolite catalysts for producing naphtha from oil. Isomer separation processes by molecular sieving.


Catalizadores y Superficies



agencia 2

cct 2



conicet 2 

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ministerio 2 

unmdp 2


UNMdP Facultad de Ingeniería
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Buenos Aires - Argentina
Tel: 54-223-4816600 - Fax: 54-223-4810046
Av. Colón 10.850
CP 7600 Mar del Plata
Tel: 54 223 
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