The oxidation and corrosion of metals are issues which affect many of our everyday objects, from water pipes to electronic devices. They eventually lead to material failure and are extremely costly to businesses and individuals. These important problems have been studied for a long time. Copper is one of the most studied metals and it has become a model to understand oxidation and corrosion. In this review we show that now now have a good atomistic understanding of the physical characteristics of copper oxides and of some key processes of their formation . However a number of challenges remain. For example, the atomistic details of the nucleation of the oxide is still unknown. However we believe that recent advances in experimental techniques, bringing greater temporal and spatial resolution, along with improvements in the accuracy, realism and timescales achievable with computational approaches make it possible for these questions to be answered in the near future.
This study has been published in Surface Science Reports
Journal link:Surface Science Reports 70, 424 (2015)