Size-selected nanostructures at surfaces are not only fascinating objects regarding fundamental studies (e.g. size-dependent physical and chemical properties), but are also interesting objects with respect to applications since they can be exploited to functionalize the surface of the supporting material. For example, arrays of metal nanostructures can be exploited as self-organized masks to produce ultra-high density arrays of nanopillars or nanotips, the latter offering the potential to be used in, e.g., field emission applications.
Nanoparticle at surfaces are also attractive candidates for sensor applications since their physical properties strongly depend on the details of their local environment. As an example, photoelectron spectroscopy is applied to probe their electronic structure yielding valuable information about their interaction with, e.g., biomolecules (single-stranded and double-stranded DNA). These research activities are intended to better understand and optimize the detection of bio-relevant molecules.
Ordered arrays of size-selected nanoparticles are furthermore promising platforms to study the fundamentals of application-relevant catalytic reactions. Here, emphasis lies on the catalytic growth of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) or ZnO nanowires.