Technology of Surfaces and Interfaces


This final year subject of the course is intended to show students how the acquired knowledge of Physics is applied in modern engineering.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria de Fátima Guerreiro da Silva Campos Raposo, Susana Isabel Santos Silva Sério Venceslau


Weekly - 2

Total - 28

Teaching language



Solid State Physics.


-“Physical vapor deposition of thin films ” – John E. Mahan

-“Introduction to plasma physics” – Gurnett and Bhattacharjee

-“Physics of thin films ” – Maurice H. Francombe and John L. Vossen

-“Physical chemistry of surfaces” – Arthur W. Adamson, Alice P. Cast.

-“Physics at surfaces”- Andrew Zangwill.

-“An Introduction to ultrathin organic Films from Langmuir to Self-assembly”-Abraham Ulman.

-“Multilayer Thin Films- Sequential assembly of nanocomposite Materials”- Gero decher, Joseph B. Schlenoff, Jean-Marie Lehn.

Teaching method

The Theoretical and Practical classes last 2 h. In 2/3 of these classes, the syllabus that are organized into Learning Units (UA), are grouped in documents and available on CLIP, will be exposed using a video projector and in the remaining classes, group work will be carried out. Some classes will also be reserved for the presentation of syllabus topics by the students.

Evaluation method

Theoretical component:

Two tests. This component, corresponds to the average of the 2 tests and a classification, NT, will be assigned. The average of the tests must be greater than or equal to ten values for approval of the discipline.

Practical component:

1. Mandatory the realization of 2 experimental laboratory works in a group about production techniques and characterization of thin films, in person format if the conditions permit.

2. Individual monograph on a topic to be defined. This component will be assigned a grade, NM.

3. Individual presentation of the monograph. This component will be assigned a grade, NA.

4. The classification of the practical component NP is obtained by the following expression, with the result rounded to the nearest integer:

NP = 0,6 x NM + 0,4 x NA

This grade must be greater than or equal to ten values for the student to be admitted to the exam or to pass the discipline.

Approval of the discipline:

Students who obtain frequency in this academic year: minimum grade of 10, out of 20, in the theoretical component T and in the practical component P.

Final grade: NF = 0.5 x NT + 0.5 x NP

Students with frequency of previous years: minimum grade of 10 in the theoretical component

Final grade: NF = NT

Subject matter

1. Introduction to Physics of Surfaces

1.1. Definitions and physical properties of surfaces

1.2. Thermodynamics of surfaces (2D)

1.3. Surface tension, contact angle and capillary

1.4. Mechanical, Electrical and Optical properties

1.5. Processing surfaces and changes its properties


2. Thin films and coatings

2.1. Technology and vacuum evaporation

2.2. Deposition of thin films by chemical and physical methods

2.3. Introduction to Physics of Plasmas and magnetron discharges

2.4. Use of sputtering in thin film

2.5. Preparation of surfaces (substrates)

2.6. Application of plasmas to surface treatments

2.7. Obtaining patterns in thin films


3. Nature of thin films and coatings

3.1. Condensation, nucleation and growth of thin films

3.2. Structures in thin films

3.3. Thickness, composition, mechanical, electrical and optical properties of thin films


4. Technological applications of thin films and coatings

4.1. Resistors, capacitors and electronic active components

4.2. Devices magnetic and superconducting thin films

4.3. Thin films in integrated devices (Microelectronics)

4.4. Decorative thin films

4.5. Hard films and mechanical applications

4.6. Biocompatible Films

4.7. Physical Properties of Graphene and Applications

4.8. Hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces

4.9. Atomic Manipulation and formation of nanostructures


5. Methods of Organic Thin Films

5.1. Molecular monolayers

5.1.1. Langmuir

5.1.2. chemical adsorption

5.1.3. physical adsorption

5.2. Molecular Heterostructures

5.2.1. Filmes de Langmuir Blodgett

5.2.2.Layer-by-layer method

5.2.3. "Spray" method

5.2.4. Molecular encapsulation

5.2.5. Inkjet

5.2.6. Dedicated lithography 


Programs where the course is taught: