Over the past seven or eight years, we have witnessed the development of a host of new tools for analyzing the atomic structures of surfaces. The quantitative structural information provided by these new tools has already contributed greatly to our understanding of the electronic, vibrational and chemical properties of surfaces. Through the continuing innovation of surface scientists all over the world, new and improved spectroscopies and microscopies are being invented and brought on line every year. The scanning tunneling microscope, which has an unprecedented ability to map the three‐dimensional topography of surfaces, is just one recent example. (See PHYSICS TODAY, April 1982, page 21.)
A host of very new microscopies and spectroscopies, using photons, electrons, ions, atoms and molecules as probes, are answering technologically important questions about how surface atoms are arranged.