Dr. Zbynek Novotny

Photo of Zbynek Novotny

Scientist (University of Zurich) and
Microspectroscopy Group

Paul Scherrer Institut
Forschungsstrasse 111
5232 Villigen PSI


Zbynek Novotny is a senior teaching and research assistant (Oberassistent) at the University of Zuerich, and a beamline scientist at the In Situ Spectroscopy beamline. He obtained a Dr.techn. degree (Ph.D. equivalent) at Vienna University of Technology in the field of surface science. Under the supervision of Prof. Ulrike Diebold (co-supervised by Prof. Gareth S. Parkinson), he studied single-atom catalysts supported on iron oxide surfaces using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) as the main technique. He later carried three-year research as a post-doctoral research associate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in a group of Dr. Zdenek Dohnálek, where using STM, he studied nanoclusters and diffusion of oxygen adatoms on 2D materials. Afterward, he spent a year as post-doc in a group of Prof. Jürg Osterwalder at the University of Zürich, working within the framework of the LightChEC project. In 2018, he was promoted to an Oberassistent position and is currently responsible for the commissioning of a new endstation to study solid-liquid interfaces using ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

Institutional Responsibilities

Responsible for Solid-Liquid Interface Chamber (SLIC) - a new ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy endstation that can be operated at In Situ Spectroscopy and Phoenix I beamline. Leading a sub-group consisting of one Ph.D. student and one post-doc.

Scientific Research

My scientific interest is currently focused on fundamental studies of electrified liquid-solid interfaces using ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, with applications towards the fields of solar light-driven water splitting, photo- and electro-induced corrosion and heterogeneous catalysis.

Selected Publications

For an extensive overview we kindly refer you to our publication repository DORA (includes publications since joining PSI). A complete list of publications can be found on Google Scholar.


Kinetics of the thermal oxidation of Ir(100) towards IrO2 studied by ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Novotny, Z., Tobler, B., Artiglia, L., Fischer, M., Schreck, M., Raabe, J., & Osterwalder, J., Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (2020). https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c00914

Probing the solid-liquid interface with tender x rays: a new ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy endstation at the Swiss Light Source, Novotny Z., Aegerter D., Comini N., Tobler B., Artiglia L., Maier U., Moehl T., Fabbri E., Huthwelker T., Schmidt T.J., Ammann M., van Bokhoven J.A., Raabe J., Osterwalder J., Review of Scientific Instruments, 91(2), 023103 (10 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5128600

Formation of supported graphene oxide: Evidence for enolate species, Novotny Z., Nguyen M.T., Netzer F.P., Glezakou V.A., Rousseau R., Dohnálek. Z, Journal of the American Chemical Society (2018) 140 (15), 5102-5109.

Carbon monoxide-induced adatom sintering in a Pd–Fe3O4 model catalyst, Parkinson G.S., Novotny Z.,  Argentero G., Schmid M., Pavelec J., Kosak R., Blaha P., Diebold U., Nature materials (2013) 12 (8), 724-728.

Ordered array of single adatoms with remarkable thermal stability: Au/Fe3O4(001), Novotný Z., Argentero G., Wang Z., Schmid M., Diebold U., Parkinson G.S., Physical review letters (2012) 108 (21), 216103.