Reactions at solid surfaces

Reactions at solid surfaces

Gerhard Ertl

Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell 2009 | 215pp | ?46.95 (HB)

ISBN 9780470261019

Reviewed by Wendy Brown

Reactions at solid surfaces provides an unashamedly personal perspective of the editor on the important area of surface science. 


The book is based on ideas presented during a series of lectures, the Baker lectures, given at Cornell University, US. It covers a range of important topics including surface structure and reactivity, dynamics of gas-surface reactions and heterogeneous catalysis. 

Although the book mainly restricts itself to adsorption and reactions on single crystal metal surfaces, it gives an excellent overview of the field of surface science and the issues that need to be addressed when studying adsorption and reactions at surfaces. 

This book is most suited for graduate students and other researchers who are interested in surface science, but less suitable for use as a tutorial text for undergraduate students who are learning about surface processes for the first time. It does, however, discuss many fundamental ideas in a very clear and instructive manner. 

The text is well written and easy to read, and the material is illustrated throughout with excellent figures that really bring the subject material alive. However, it is a shame that the colour figures are present as colour plates in the centre of the book, rather than on the relevant page.

In summary, I found this book an interesting and informative read and I would recommend it to anyone undertaking, or planning to undertake, research within the field of surface science.