1.1 Motivations for a Landolt-Börnstein volume on surface physics
This chapter provides a general introduction on motivations for a Landolt-Börnstein volume on surface physics. Surface physics has experienced in the last two decades an explosive expansion caused by several concomitant events. Because of the improvements of the experimental techniques, surface physics, when applied to atomically clean or atomically controlled surfaces, has reached a remarkable degree of accuracy and reproducibility. Models of reconstructed surfaces, once simply guessed on the ground of theoretical considerations, are now tested with great accuracy by various techniques and in many cases have attained a high reliability.