The preceding articles in this special issue amply demonstrate the crucial role that thin films play in present‐day science and technology. These films can now be fabricated routinely and their application in advanced technologies is assured. To control the quality of the films and to measure their behavior we must develop techniques that can make measurements on minute quantities of material with dimensions of fractions of a micron. We need to determine the crystal structure, the chemical composition and the microstructure of the films. In the past five years or so, we have seen the realization of analytical techniques that give detailed information on thin‐film structures, information that was not accessible with earlier analytic techniques.
Recent advances in analytical techniques let us measure the properties and control the quality of microstructures and let us use them to study novel physical phenomena.