With the aim of addressing the material gap issue between model and real systems in heterogeneous catalysis, we exploited Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) to produce Pd clusters supported on ultrathin alumina films (Pd/Al2O3/NiAl(001) and Pd/Al2O3-x/HOPG). The structural properties have been investigated by in situ Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) in ultra high vacuum (UHV). At first, Pd clusters were deposited by evaporation and by PLD on Al2O3 surfaces grown by thermal oxidation of NiAl(001). The system shows thermal stability up to 650 K. By PLD we deposited Pd clusters with a good size control obtained by varying the background gas pressure and the target-to-substrate distance. We then realized a
Pd/Al2O3-x/HOPG system where both Pd clusters and the alumina film are produced by PLD showing that, by exploiting the same deposition technique, it is possible to synthesize both a model system addressable by in situ STM and a thick film (∼100 μm) closer to realistic systems.