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B.A. Oxford University, 1974
Ph.D. University of British Columbia, 1979

Department of Chemistry, Oregon State University,
Corvallis, Oregon 97330-4003, USA

Phone : (541)-737-6740   Fax : (541)-737-2062
E-mail : watsonp@chem.orst.edu

NIST Surface Structure Database (SSD)

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The Surface Structure Database (SSD) is a collaborative project with Dr. Michel Van Hove, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Prof. Dr. Klaus Hermann, Fritz-Haber Institute, Berlin under the auspices of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  SSD is the only complete critical compilation of reliable crystallographic information now available on surfaces and interfaces. 

What does SSD contain?

Easy searching

Data screens


SSD version 3.0

Hardware requirements

How to obtain SSD

How to contribute a structure to SSD

Publications about SSD

What does SSD contain?

SSD brings instant access to detailed text and graphical displays of over 1100 experimentallydetermined atomic-scale structural analyses. Using the powerful, yet easy-to-use capabilities of SSD, scientists in physics, chemistry, and materials science can quickly and easily find the answer to such questions as :

Easy searching

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Searching for needed information has been made as painless as possible and context-sensitive on-line help is available at all times. Searches involve simply filling in the blanks with each criterion of interest and clicking the mouse - no arcane and repetitive search procedures!

If you are not sure of the spelling or would like some suggestions, simply double-click the mouse to see a list of possibilities for that criterion. You can search for specific items (e.g. Si substrate, (111) crystal face, Al adsorbate), or for classes of materials or structures (e.g. metallic substrates, molecular adsorbates, reconstructions).






Data screens

The database provides a wealth of information for each structure using 5 data screens:

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Summary - full reference and brief summary of the suface structure







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Experiment/Theory - details of sample preparation, experimental technique, dataset and theoretical analysis








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Surface 2D Unit Cells - complete description of the bulk and surface unit cell(s)







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3D Coordinates - scrollable list of coordinates, with error bars, for surface or interface atoms





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Bond Distances and Angles - scrollable list of important bond lengths and angles



Any or all of this information can be printed out in a convenient form suitable for reports.


However, SSD is more than a critical compilation of data. This database contains integrated 3D color graphics that allow you to visually inspect all surface structures.

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You have complete control over the appearance of the 3D display :

The visualization capabilities of SSD extend beyond display to interactive analysis of structural relationships :

SSD version 3.0

Version 3.0 of SSD is scheduled to appear in summer 1999. It will offer the following main changes from version 2.0 :

Hardware requirements

Intel 80486 or Pentium processor
16 MB or more of memory
VGA graphics with at least 256 colors and color monitor with 800x600 pixels or higher resolution
10 MB of free hard disk space (15 MB for installation)
Microsoft Windows-compatible mouse; printer (optional; required for print output of listings, PostScript type for printing graphics).

How to obtain SSD 3.0

The SSD software and data are marketed by the NIST Standard Reference Data Program as Database 42. Further information, including ordering instructions, can be obtained at the NIST SSD web site

How to contribute a structure to SSD

Information on how to contribute a structure to SSD is available at http://electron.lbl.gov.

Publications about SSD

ELECTRONIC DATABASE: Surface Structure Database (SSD), P.R. Watson, M.A. Van Hove and K. Hermann, NIST Surface Structure Database Ver. 1.0, NIST Standard Reference Data Program, Gaithersburg, MD, USA (1993).

BOOK: Atlas of Surface Structures, Based on the NIST Surface Structure Database (SSD), P.R. Watson, M.A. Van Hove and K. Hermann, J. Phys. Chem. Ref. Data, Monograph No. 5, in 2 Vols. (1A and 1B) (1994).

ELECTRONIC DATABASE: Surface Structure Database (SSD) Version 2, P.R. Watson, M.A. Van Hove and K. Hermann, NIST Surface Structure Database Ver. 2.0, NIST Standard Reference Data Program, Gaithersburg, MD, USA (1996).

PAPER The Surface Structure Database: SSD, M.A. Van Hove, K. Hermann and P.R. Watson, in The Structure of Surfaces V, Proc. ICSOS-V, Eds. P. Soukiassian, G. Le Lay and M.A. Van Hove, Surf. Rev. Lett. 4, 1071-75 (1997).

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Last Updated by Philip R. Watson on Monday, September 09, 2002