Structure and Properties of Solid Surfaces

  • Harry C. Gatos
Part of the Materials Science Research book series (MSR, volume 7)


Solid surfaces are giant lattice defects, generated through the abrupt termination of the crystalline lattice. Their structure and properties are a manifestation of their defect nature and not necessarily of the intrinsic characteristics of the solid. Although, in terms of number of atoms, surfaces represent a very small fraction of macroscopic solids (of the order of 10−8) they are more often than not crucial in the characterization, understanding, and overall behavior. Mechanical, electrical, optical or other types of communications with a solid are realized through the surface. Furthermore, all chemical and physical interactions of solids with gases, liquids or other solids take place through the surface atoms. Indeed, surface phenomena bear directly on all facets of basic and applied technology; in advanced electronics, in friction and wear, in catalysis, in the chemical stability or instability of solid systems, on chemical processing, in environmental (pollution) processes, and others; life sciences rest to a large extent on surface phenomena. Like other lattice defects, surfaces often play a very important role in the mechanical behavior of solids, and many types of mechanical failures are initiated at the surfaces.


Surface State Solid Surface Work Function Surface Atom Surface Barrier 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry C. Gatos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Metallurgy and Materials ScienceMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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