Prior to the advent of methods that provide real space images of solid surfaces, and in particular prior to the scanning tunneling microscope, diffraction techniques were virtually the only source of information on surface structure, ordered adsorbate phases, deviations from translational symmetry (surface defects) and two-dimensional structural phase transitions. This book is devoted to the only genuinely non-destructive surface sensitive diffraction method, helium atom scattering. The broad spectrum of applications of this technique to surface science problems is discussed in the next eleven chapters, each of which is written by one or more prominent experts in the field. A look at the wealth of information gained from helium atom scattering reveals that the exploration of reciprocal space and that of real space are quite complementary. Diffraction methods that are sufficiently well understood theoretically will continue to be irreplacable tools in surface science.
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