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Top achievements

FIRI project “FinEstBeaMS” funded by Academy of Finland for design and construction of materials science beamline FinEstBeaMS at MAX IV Laboratory, 2011 – 2018. 

FIRI project ”NanoMAT Laboratory” funded by Academy of Finland for synthesis and research of nanostructured photonic materials featuring spectromicroscopy and an ALD reactor (Atomic Layer Deposition), 2011– 2015. 

Scientific advisor of a spin-off company, Plasmonics Oy for commercialization of our research expertise in photocatalytic coatings, 2020 – 

Väisälä Award from the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters in 2011. 

Academy Research Fellow, Academy of Finland, 1999 – 2004. 

Main positions of trust

Teacher Instructor for university teacher's pedagogical qualification in pedagogy and educational sciences at Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Tampere University. 

Member of the Board of Directors of Plasmonics Oy and Liquid Sun Oy. 

Mission statement

We conduct research on phenomena at surfaces and interfaces of photonic materials, biomaterials, metal and semiconductor alloys and nanostructured materials. The main objective is to gain insight into the physicochemical surface and interface properties and to develop novel materials by functionalizing surfaces at the nanometer scale. I also share a great interest towards engineering pedagogy.  

Research topics

Our research activities are focused on surface science studies relevant to applications ranging from corrosion to nanotechnology. In particular we are internationally renowned for our scientific expertise in electron spectroscopy. 

Currently we investigate artificial photosynthesis, where solar energy is converted into chemical energy through two photocatalytic charge transfer reactions: water dissociation into hydrogen and oxygen and carbon dioxide reduction into CO and hydrocarbons.  

We are also investigating the molecular processes of atomic layer deposition (ALD) and how the ALD growth mechanism can be adjusted to control the thin film properties when the thin films are utilized in photonic materials and semiconductor nanomaterials. 

We are using synchrotron light mediated research methods in all our projects. In particular, we have unique access to MAX IV Laboratory , which is one of the newest and the brightest synchrotron radiation facilities in the world. Our unique access stems from our significant investments and long-term collaborative effort with Senior Scientist Mika Hirsimäki and MAX IV on designing and building a new beamline FinEstBeaMS at MAX IV. 

Research unit

Research career

Professor of Physics, Tampere University, 2019 –   

Professor of Physics, Tampere University of Technology, 2005 – 2018. 

Teaching Instructor, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, 2011 –  

Academy Research Fellow, Academy of Finland, 1999 – 2004.

Lecturer of Physics, TUT, 1999 – 2004. 

Postdoctoral Scholar, Texas A&M University, USA, 1997 – 1998.

Selected publications

M. Hannula, H. Ali-Löytty, K. Lahtonen, E. Sarlin, J. Saari, and M. Valden, Improved stability of ALD grown amorphous TiO2 photoelectrode coatings by thermally induced oxygen defects, Chemistry of Materials 30(4), 1199–1208 (2018)

H. Ali-Löytty, M. Hannula, T. Juuti, Y. Niu, A. A. Zakharov, and M. Valden, The role of (FeCrSi)2(MoNb)-type Laves phase on the formation of Mn-rich protective oxide scale on ferritic stainless steel, Corrosion Science 132, 214–222 (2018)

V. Hynninen, L. Vuori, M. Hannula, K. Tapio, K. Lahtonen, T. Isoniemi, E. Lehtonen, M. Hirsimäki, J. J. Toppari, M. Valden, and V. Hytönen, Improved antifouling properties and selective biofunctionalization of stainless steel by employing heterobifunctional silane-polyethylene glycol overlayers and avidin-biotin technology, Scientific Reports 6, 29324 (2016)

X. Lai, T.P. St. Clair, M. Valden, and D.W. Goodman, Scanning tunneling microscopy studies of metal clusters supported on TiO2(110): Morphology and electronic structure, Progress in Surface Science 59(1-4), 25-52 (1998).  

M. Valden, X. Lai, D. W. Goodman, Onset of Catalytic Activity of Gold Clusters on Titania with the Appearance of Nonmetallic Properties, Science 281, pp. 1647-1650 (1998).