Professor Gunther Andersson


College of Science and Engineering

Research expertise

Gunther Andersson's research focusses on surfaces and interfaces. In particular, he is interested in atomic clusters on surfaces, liquid surfaces, and polymer interfaces.

Research expertise

Gunther Andersson's research focusses on surfaces and interfaces. In particular, he is interested in atomic clusters on surfaces, liquid surfaces, and polymer interfaces.

place Physical Sciences Building (2111)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Professor Gunther Andersson has a focus on using electron spectroscopy and ion scattering to understand surfaces and interfaces, and to use that understanding to develop and improve applications of materials. This research has been facilitated by Gunther's research group developing new methods and equipment for investigating surfaces, including under ultra-high vacuum conditions as well as liquid surfaces with finite vapour pressure. The latter capability enables the analysis of surfaces relavent for atmospheric research.

In 1998 Gunther completed his PhD applying ion scattering spectroscopy on liquid surfaces at the University of Witten/Herdecke (Germany) under the supervision of Prof Harald Morgner. The following two years he at the Technical University Eindhoven on a project on polymer based light emitting diodes. In 2000 Gunther moved to Leipzig University (Germany) were he developed the method neutral impact collision ion scattering spectroscopy (NICISS) for investigation of soft matter surfaces to its current stage. He completed his Habilitation in 2006. In 2007 he was appointed at Flinders University. He is now a full Professor, leading a research group with activities in liquid and polymer surfaces and catalysis based on nano-clusters.


Flinders Foundations of University Teaching, Flinders University (2007)

Habilitation in Physical Chemistry,Leipzig University, Faculty of Chemistry (2006)

PhD in Physics (Dr. rer. nat.) University of Witten/Herdecke, Institute for Physics (Prof. Morgner). Thesis: “Ion Scattering Spectroscopy as Method for Investigating Surfaces of Organic Liquids” (1998)

Master Thesis (Diplomarbeit), Institute for High Frequency Technology at Dortmund University (Prof. Voges) in collaboration with Raith GmbH. (1994)

Degree in Physics (Diplom), Dortmund University. Thesis: ”Development of a Tracking Control System for E-beam writing of Elements for Integrated Optics" (1994)

Honours, awards and grants

Recently Awarded Funding

Australian Research Council - Chemical Signature Analysis of Surfaces, $540,000 2019 - 2020

Australian Research Council - Unravelling the dominant drivers of ion specificity, $533,000 2019 - 2021

Australian Renewable Energy Agency - Preliminary Assessment of the Potential of CST to Add Value to Liquid Fuel Production, $730,000 2019 - 2021

United States Army International Technology Center - Solar Fuels, $240,000 2016 - 2019

Key responsibilities
Research expertise
Condensed matter physics
Physical chemistry
Surface science
Research interests

The research in Gunther's lab focuses on the molecular structure of soft matter surfaces (liquid and polymer surfaces) and interfaces. The Andersson lab uses the surface science techniques ion scattering spectroscopy and electron spectroscopy and has developed new methods and equipment for surface analysis, both under ultra-high vacuum conditions and for the analysis of liquid surfaces.

Gunther's group has projects in the research fields of colloids, liquid surfaces, interfaces in organic solar cells, modifications of polymer surfaces and heterogeneous catalysis with size selected nanoclusters (see below for some example projects). His group is part of the Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, where Gunther is a research leader and deputy director. Gunther also has various collaborations with research groups in Australia and overseas and uses larger research facilities like the Australian Synchrotron and high energy ion scattering techniques at ANSTO.

Metal clusters on surfaces

Metal clusters are objects on the nanoscale which consist of less than 100 atoms, are atomically precise and thus have specific size and shape. Metal clusters have unique properties that change with the type and number of atoms which form the cluster and are ideal for modifying semiconductor surfaces.

Reactions at surfaces of seaspray aerosols

In collaboration wih Prof Gilbert Nathanson from Madison, Wisconsin (USA), Gunther's group are focussing on the role of aerosol particles formed over the ocean in altering global cimate and coastal pollution as part of the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment.

High resolution concentration depth profiles

The faciility used to measure concentration depth profiles has recently been upgraded. The new instrument can capture depth profiles around 20 times faster, with a depth resolution of a few Angstroms near the surface. Examples applications include analysing interfaces in polymer electronics, corrosion at interfaces, liquid surfaces, and nanoparticles on surfaces.

Topic coordinator
PHYS4721 Advanced Physics (Space and Surface Science)
PHYS1102 Physics 1B
PHYS1332 Engineering Physics
PHYS2712 Thermodynamics and Electromagnetic Waves
Topic lecturer
PHYS1102 Physics 1B
NANO3702 Frontiers of Nanotechnology
PHYS2712 Thermodynamics and Electromagnetic Waves
PHYS4711 Advanced Physics (Quantum Theory)
PHYS1101 Physics 1A
Supervisory interests
Heterogeneous catalysis
Liquid surfaces
Polymer surfaces
Solar cells
Solar fuels
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: photocatalysis, solar fuels, metal clusters on surfaces (2), graphene and carbon nanotubes (1), interfaces in polymer based photovoltaic (2), interfaces in organic based photovoltaic (1)
Associate supervisor: graphene and carbon nanotubes (1), corrosion protection, silanes on surfaces (1)
Principal supervisor: liquid surfaces, foam films (1)
Associate supervisor: interfaces in polymer based photovoltaic (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Lily Ellis-Gibbings

University Medal - DEC 2010


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