Abstract

Nonlinear optics has made giant strides in the past 50 years. It has impacted broadly on many disciplines of science and technology. Surface science is one of them because nonlinear optics provides unique opportunities to probe surfaces and interfaces. As surface and interface properties become increasingly important in science and technology, so does nonlinear optics as a surface characterizing tool. This article gives a brief review of the field. We reminisce on the early years of surface nonlinear optics and its subsequent development as surface analytical probes. We discuss how surface nonlinear optics, with emphasis on second harmonic and sum frequency generation, has influenced various areas of surface science and how the impact can be extended in the future.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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