Energy-loss spectra for the scattering of noble-gas ions by solid surfaces are determined to analyse these surfaces. By choosing the appropriate experimental conditions it is possible to study both the composition and the structure of a surface. The direction of the polar axis of single crystals with a noncentrosymmetric structure such as ZnS is easily established by comparing the ion scattering spectra for the (111) and (111) face. For crystals having unstable polar faces the polarity can also be determined. This is illustrated for the stable (110) face of GaP by comparing the scattering of ions incident in the 〈111〉 azimuth with the scattering of ions incident in the 〈111〉 azimuth. Other applications of ion scattering such as a study of hydrogen adsorption on metal surfaces are presented. A study of oxide cathodes provides a better insight into the interaction between ions and electrons.
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