Advanced x-ray scattering techniques will play an important role for the characterization of materials with increasing degree of complexity. This does not only apply for structural and electronic properties but also for dynamical properties that often constitute the basis for new functionalities. The enormous brilliance of modern synchrotron radiation sources has opened new avenues for the characterization of low-dimensional systems like thin films and nanoparticles. In this field, nuclear resonant scattering enjoys a growing interest with applications in many disciplines of natural sciences. It is the virtue of this technique to probe magnetic order as well as dynamical properties in basically the same experimental setup. The use of isotopic probe layers, for example, allows one to determine these properties with very high spatial resolution; focusing techniques and x-ray interference effects lead to a very high sensitivity for smallest amounts of material. Therefore, the method becomes more and more powerful with increasing brilliance of modern synchrotron radiation sources.