Prof Wyn Roberts - PhD DSc FRSC FLSW
Development and application of surface sensitive experimental methods to the study of molecular behaviour of metal surfaces relevant to the understanding of heterogeneously catalysed reactions.
In 1970 an SRC Award led to the development, with VG Scientific, of the first UHV multiphoton spectrometer for the study of chemisorption and reactions at metal surfaces following an earlier award which had established that the photoelectron escape depth was “approximately 10Å”. This was a step-change in surface chemistry with evidence for facile bond breaking and bond making at cryogenic temperatures. Subsequently transient oxygen states were shown, for the first time, to be able to control reaction pathways and through an EPSRC Award in 1997 STM was coupled with XPS to provide atom resolved (structural and chemical) evidence for some of the limitations of accepted tenets in classical models. This has provided a new insight to the mechanisms of oxidation catalysis.