Professor Ian Robinson wins the Surface Structure Prize

Ian Robinson wins the Surface Structure Prize .

The LCN's Professor Ian Robinson has been awarded the "Surface Structure Prize" at the International Conference on the Structure of Surfaces (ICOS), held this year in Hong Kong, for his work in X-ray Diffraction determination of surface structure. The ICOS is a well established event which has been meeting every three years since 1984, and awards this prestigious prize to one of the world's pioneers in the field.

In his award lecture, Professor Robinson spoke about the history of the development of the X-ray diffraction methods for studying surfaces. Although initially met with scepticism because X-rays were so penetrating, the methods were slowly accepted by the surface community. The first experiments were done in local "baby chambers" with rotating anode sources. Things advanced rapidly with the introduction of synchrotron radiation and dedicated end-stations, such as the one developed by Professor Robinson at Brookhaven in the 1980's. A key discovery, made by Robinson in 1985, was the "crystal truncation rod" (CTR) that demonstrated the intimate connection between the surface diffraction and that of the bulk. The surface diffraction method and particularly the CTR version are applied widely today at the various synchrotron facilities of the world and many of the definitive studies of surface structures determined today are achieved using these X-ray methods.

The CTR had been anticipated in Russian studies of dynamical diffraction from perfect crystals, which changed significantly in the tail region when the crystals were chemically etched. It was also seen, but not identified, in Japanese work on diffuse scattering from crystals as a function of polishing conditions. The ability to measure these things was dramatically improved by the introduction of three-dimensional reciprocal-lattice measurement techniques, as Robinson explained. These methods are routine today and have been sped up further by the use of area detectors which can measure the integrated CTR intensity and the background simultaneously.

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