The early work of the FOM-AMOLF group in Amsterdam clearly demonstrated the potential of medium energy ion scattering (MEIS), typically using 100 keV H+ incident ions, to investigate the structure of surfaces, but most current applications of the method are focussed on near-surface compositional studies of non-crystalline films. However, the key strengths of the MEIS technique, notably the use of blocking curves in double-alignment experiments and absolute yield measurements, are extremely effective in providing detailed near-surface structural information for a wide range of crystalline materials. This potential and the underlying methodology, is illustrated through examples of applications to the study of layer-dependent composition and structure in alloy surfaces, in studies of the surface crystallography of an oxide surface (rutile TiO2(1 1 0)) and in investigations of complex adsorbate-induced reconstruction of metal surfaces, including the pseudo-(1 0 0) reconstruction of Cu(1 1 1) induced by adsorption of atomic N and molecular methylthiolate (CH3S–). In addition to the use of calibrated blocking curves, the use of the detailed spectral shape of the surface peak in the scattered ion energy spectra, as a means of providing single-atomic layer resolution of the surface structure, is also discussed
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