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Gareth S. Parkinson - Professor of Surface Reactivity

Contact Information

  • Institut für Angewandte Physik, Technische Universität Wien
    Wiedner Hauptstr. 8-10/134, 1040 Wien, Austria
  • Phone: (+43 1) 58801 - 13473
  • email: [email address: lastname @ this server · enable javascript to see it]


  • Professor of Surface Reactivity, TU Wien, 2021-
  • Associate Professor, TU Wien, 2017-2020
  • Assistant Professor, TU Wien, 2015-2017
  • Universitätsassisstent, TU Wien, 2010-2015
  • Postdoc at Tulane University, USA, 2009-2010 (Supervisor: U. Diebold)
  • Postdoc at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2007-2009 (Supervisor: B.D. Kay/Z. Dohnalek)
  • PhD in Physics from Warwick University, 2007 (Supervisor: D.P. Woodruff)

Research Group

My group at the TU Wien. BACK ROW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Panukorn Sombut, lena Puntscher, David Rath, Me, Matthias Meier, Jiri pavelec, Ali rafsanjani Abassi. FRONT ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Moritz Eder, Chunlei Wang

Research Interests

My research group utilizes a comprehensive surface science approach to study the physics and chemistry of metal oxide surfaces, and so-called “single-atom” catalysts. Recently, we have focused on iron oxide surfaces, in particular the (001) of Magnetite (Fe3O4) and the (012) surface of Hematite (Fe2O3). Going forward, we aim to combine our successful STM and nc-AFM work with data from our new state-of-the-art surface chemistry setup, which allows for quantitative TPD using molecular beams, XPS, UPS, IRAS, LEED and LEIS, all on the same sample, at the same time! In addition, we are currently moving towards realistic conditions using UHV-interfaced high-pressure and electrochemical cells.


Cluster of Excellence "MECS" Funded!


Big news today! Our Cluster of Excellence consortium (Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage) was selected for funding by the Austrian Science Fund. That's €35m over 5 years between 19 groups. Congrats to our Director Günther Rupprechter and all the groups involved. It's great when hard work pays off!

New Marie Curie Fellowship


Congrats to Moritz Eder, who received a Marie Curie Fellowship to work on Single Atom Photocatalysis.

AVS Fellowship for me :-)


I received a Fellowship from AVS at the meeting in Pittsburgh. Really a great honor to have been nominated :-)

New Doctoral College TU-dx


Excellent news that our application for a new FWF docoral college has been funded. Looks like we will be doing a bit of work with 2d materials in future…

Florian Kraushofer wins best dissertation 2022 from the Austrian Physical Society

Florian receiving his award at the ÖPG annual meeting in Leoben


Florian Kraushofer's PhD thesis was judged to be the best dissertation in physics produced in Austria during 2022 by the Austrian physical society (ÖPG). In recognition he received an invited talk at the ÖPG annual meeting, a fancy certificate, and a check for 1000 euros. Not bad!

Lena Puntscher wins best student presentation at the IVC meeting in Sapporo!

Lena pictured with her prize certificate after the presentation ceremony


Serial prizewinner Lena Puntscher was at it again in Japan earlier this month, winning the prize for best student presentation at the IVC (International Vaccum Congress) annual meeting in Sapporo. Congratulations Lena, but to be honest we have come to expect nothing less!

SAC: Chemical Reviews article finally out


Single-atom catalysis, or SAC for short, is one of the prime research areas in our surface physics group. Florian Kraushofer and I have now published a review article in Chemical Reviews that summarizes the current knowledge derived from well-characterized model systems.

Elected as an AVS Fellow!


Just been informed that I was elected an AVS fellow for 2022. I'm delighted to be associated with this fantastic society and honoured to join the prestigious list of society fellows. Many thanks to those who nominated me!

Lena Wins AVS Student Prize

The Platinum Award!


Congratulations to Lena Haager, who won the prize for best student presentation in the “Fundamental Discoveries in Heterogeneous Catalysis” focus session of AVS 67.

April 2021 - Florian's Paper Selected for Cover of SAC special issue

2021-April-27 Florian Kraushofer's recent paper about Rh atoms on Fe2O3 has been selected for the cover of the Advanced Materials Interfaces “Single-Atom Catalysis” special issue in which it will appear. The paper can be found here

January 2021 - Appointed Full Professor of Surface Reactivity @ TU Wien

I'm delighted to report that I'll be staying in Vienna for a good while yet :-)

January 2021 - New Paper Published in Science Magazine

We are delighted that our most recent paper “Unravelling CO adsorption on Model Me1/Fe3O4(001) Single-Atom Catalysts” has been published in Science Magazine. This was primarily the hard work of Jan Hulva and Matthias Meier, but several group members contributed to the project over 5 years. You can find the paper HERE and the press release from the TU Wien HERE

January 2021 - Organising a special issue for Topics in Catalysis on "Single-Atom Catalysis"

Together with Phil Christopher (UCSB), I've been asked to put together a special issue of the invite only journal Topics in Catalysis, with a focus on fundamental aspects of this fascinating field. I'm busy sending out invites already…

November 2020 - SFB TACO is funded by the FWF

Our proposed collaborative research area “Taming Complexity in Materials Modelling” has been funded by the Austrian science foundation (FWF). My group will get just shy of half a million euros to study the reactivity of ternary spinel oxides. Exciting times :-)

Zdenek Jakub Graduation

Zdenek successfully defended his PhD on June 17th in an online exam. He has now moved to CITEC in Brno to work as a postdoc.

ERC Consolidator Grant 2019

After a really tough selection process I was delighted to learn that I have been awarded a “consolidator” grant from the European Research Council (ERC). Basically, this gives us 2 million euros over 5 years to look at single-atom systems, particularly with a view to developing better electrocatalysts. I take this as evidence that the EU is not so bad after all and Britain should remain ;-)


Our latest paper in Angewandte Chemie has been featured on the TU Wien homepage, and was picked up by the press here in Austria :-)

TU Wien article in English Der Standard article in German

3 papers accepted this week! - July 2019

Joined AVS 67 Committee - July 2019

I have joined the organizing committee for the focus session “Fundamentals of Heterogeneous Catalysis” to be held at AVS 67. Thanks to Ashleigh Barber (and Dan Killelea) for the invitation to participate in the hugely successful symposium.

Best Lecture 2019 - June 2019

I'm delighted to win the best lecture award for 2019 for fundamentals of physics 1! Thanks to all who nominated and voted :-)

Elected to the IUVSTA surface science division committee for 2019-2022! June 2019

Honored to be involved. Thanks to all those who voted for me.

Another successful PhD defense! This time Jan Hulva - May 2019

Jan Hulva successfully defended his PhD thesis “Studies of Adsorption on Fe3O4(001) Using Molecular Beams” on May 29th with Prof. Hajo Freund of the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin as the external examiner. We wish him well for the future and are sad so see him leave.

Collaboration with Hajo Freund and co. - First paper published - May 2019

Very proud to report that we published a new paper in JPCL that is the result of a new collaboration with the group of eminent surface-scientist Hajo Freund. J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2019, 10, pp 2487–2492, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.9b00773 Hajo has also generously agreed to join us as the opponent for my PhD student Jan Hulva, who will defend May 29th. Exciting times!

Jiri Pavelec successfully defends his PhD thesis! - April 2019

Really pleased to announce that Jiri Pavelec has defended his thesis. Jiri designed and built our surface chemistry chamber and has be instrumental to a lot of the work going on in my group over the last few years. Thankfully, he is going to stay on a little while as a postdoc…

Invitation to MRM Conference in Japan - April 2019

Excited to have received an invitation to speak at the MRM meeting in Yokohama, Japan in December. I was never in Japan, and it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit. Also, the symposium title “Local atomic structure Analysis of the active site in functional materials” sounds right up my street.

New Perspective Article Published in Catalysis Letters - Feb 2019

My views on why surface science experiments are vital to unravel single atom catalysis can be found here –> Catalysis Letters Perspective

Thanks very much to Hajo Freund for the invitation to write it!

Invited Talk at Gordon Research Conference and Phil Christopher Visit, Feb 2019

Florian and I attended the Gordon Research Conference on Chemical Reactions at surfaces where I gave an invited lecture about partially-dissociated water agglomerates on iron oxide surfaces. This was my first Gordon conference and I really enjoyed the format. It certainly wont be the last. Thanks very much to Christoph Wöhl and Manos Mavrakakis for the invitation!

After the conference I visited Phil Christopher's group at UC Santa Barbara to discuss potential a collaboration on single atom catalysis research. Thanks Phil for your hospitality!

NEW Paper in ACS Energy Letters, Jan 2019

We have a new paper about partially-dissociated water dimers forming at the surface of hematite –> ACS Energy Lett., 2019, 4 (2), pp 390–396

NEW TOY ARRIVES!!!, October 2018

Our long awaited Bruker 80v spectrometer arrived today and seems to be in good working order. Jiri and David are very excited to add IRAS to our TPD chamber capabilities…

Community Service, September 2018

I will serve as the head of the surface science division of the Austrian Physical Society for the next two years, and was recently elected to serve on the board of the CPG (Austrian Physical chemistry society).

Plenary Lecture at the International Symposium on Single Atom Catalysis, June 2018

June 2018 - Last week I was honored to present the first talk of the conference and try to explain how we are using surface science methods to important insights into the mechanisms underlying single atom catalysis. Thank you to conference organiser Jun Li (pictured) for giving me this platform :-)

Gaede-Preis 2018

November 2017 - I was awarded the Gaede Prize for 2018 at the DPG Spring Meeting in Berlin. I also organized a focus session together with Joachim Paier (Helmholz Universität)on Metal-Oxide Structure and Surface Chemistry at the meeting, which was very interesting. Thanks to all who participated!

Kardinal Innitzer Prize 2017

November 2017 - I was honored to receive the Kardinal-Innitzer-Förderungspreise from Kardinal Schönborn at the Archdiocese in Vienna. A really great day out for me and my family.

Elected to AVS Surface Science Division Executive Committee

Thanks to all who voted for me!

Also, congratulations to my friend and former boss Zdenek Dohnalek, who was made an AVS fellow :-) Kardinal Innitzer Prize Award Ceremony

Tenure at TU Wien

July 2017 - Officially granted tenure at the TU Wien. Really happy to finally make my stay in Vienna permanent. The Surface Science Group here is a fantastic place to be at the moment. Great people, great science!

Habilitation / Surface Science Report

My review of Iron Oxide Surface Science, also my habilitation thesis, was recently published in Surface Science Reports. It can be downloaded from the following link:

Iron Oxide Surfaces Review

FWF START Prize 2015

In June 2015 I was awarded the FWF START prize, which grants me 1.2 million euros for my research for the next 6 years. The idea is to use the Fe3O4(001) surface as a platform to study the fundamental mechanisms of single atom catalysis. Better get on with it then!

Selected Recent Publications

Download publication list: gareth_s_parkinson_full_publication_list.pdf

In total I have published 75 peer reviewed papers. Some of my favourites from my time in Vienna are listed below:

“Surface Reduction State Determines Stabilization and Incorporation of Rh on α-Fe2O3(11 ̅02)” Advanced Materials Interfaces special issue on Single-Atom Catalysis, in press

“Unravelling CO Adsorption on Model Single-Atom Catalysts”Science 371 (2021) 375-379

“Local Structure and Coordination Effects Define Adsorption in a Model Ir1/Fe3O4 Single-Atom Catalyst” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 58, 13961-13968 (2019)

“Single-Atom Catalysis: How Structure Influences Catalytic Performance” Catalysis Letters 149, 1137 (2019)

“Iron Oxide Surfaces”Surface Science Reports 71 (2016) 272, DOI: 10.1016/j.surfrep.2016.02.001

“Water agglomerates on Fe3O4(001)”PNAS (2018)

“Dual role of CO in the stability of sub-nano Pt clusters at the Fe3O4(001) surface”PNAS 113, (2016) 8921

“Subsurface cation vacancy stabilization of the magnetite (001) surface”Science 346, 1215 (2014)

“Carbon monoxide-induced adatom sintering in a Pd–Fe3O4 model catalyst” Nature Materials 12, 724 (2013)

“Ordered Array of Single Adatoms with Remarkable Thermal Stability: Au/Fe3O4(001).” Physical Review Letters 108, 216103 (2012)

surface/group/parkinson/index.txt · Last modified: 2023-10-28 14:54 by Gareth Parkinson