Historically Surface Science is an outgrowth from several fields of physics and chemistry. One strong “leg” derives from solid state physics, and encompasses the studies of structure, electron structure and dynamics of two-dimensional systems. Another leg, pioneered by Langmuir is the study of chemical processes at surfaces.
Surface science underlies and supports many technically important processes and properties like semiconductor processing for microelectronics, heterogenous catalysis, corrosion and corrosion protection, coatings, lubrication, surfactants, (anti)fouling, adhesion, biocompatible materials and electrochemical processes. Development in these and related areas has occurred by simultaneous developments of specific surface science methods like XPS/UPS, AES, SIMS, AFM and STM.