Dr Renald Schaub

Dr Renald Schaub


Researcher profile

+44 (0)1334 46 3824



Renald graduated in 1996 from the Dept. of Physics of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He then carried out PhD studies at the Dept. of Physics of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) followed by postdoctoral research at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre of the University of Aarhus in the group of Professor F. Besenbacher. Since 2006 he has been at the School of Chemistry in St Andrews, firstly as an EaStCHEM Hirst Fellow and then since 2011 as a Lecturer. His expertise lies in the application of high-resolution scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy (SPM and STS) to study fundamental processes related to the nano-scale design and characterisation of functional materials. His contribution to the field of SPM has been significant, with several publications in highly-regarded scientific journals (Science, Nature Commnications, ACS Nano, Nano Letters, Physical Review Letters).


Renald contributes to teaching at both sub-honours and honours classes,

Present teaching activities: CH4717 photon based spectroscopies (10 lectures, 1 tutorial); CH2701 mathematical tools for chemists (10 lectures, 16 workshop hours); CH3721 physical chemistry practical laboratory demonstration (60 contact hours); Convenor for integrating chemistry (CH4461 and CH5461); Convenor for the honours research pojects for MChem and BSC students (CH4442 and CH5441).

Past teaching activities: Quantum mechanics; Physical chemistry; Physics practical laboratory demonstrations; etc.

Research areas

The objective of my research is to provide a better understanding of fundamental principles and mechanisms involved in the chemistry and physics of surfaces. This interest stems from a need for understanding the fundamental properties of materials in sufficient detail to be able to improve device performances for a variety of technological applications. This can be addressed by the use of scanning probe microscopies (STM, AFM) yielding high-resolution and real-space information on surface phenomena, supported by theoretical calculations (DFT). Strategies are devised to properly interrogate relevant systems at the atomic scale. For instance, surface nano-engineering is investigated with the aim of delivering concepts that can be used for the development of new devices used in, e.g., heterogeneous catalysis, photo-catalysis, molecular electronics and architectures. Our application of ultra-microscopy aims at going beyond the traditional use (i.e. high-magnification topography) of such instrumentation by achieving the following: (1) local electronic and vibrational spectroscopy (STS and IETS) of single atoms/molecules; (2) atomic and molecular manipulation; (3) fast-acquisition (several tens of images per second) towards resolving dynamics at surfaces; and (4) high-pressure measurements towards meaningful studies at the gas/solid interface (UHV-based).  For more information please see our group website.

PhD supervision

  • Ewan Scougall
  • Miki Fukushima

Selected publications


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