This report is a personal research history of the author. The author engaged in the extreme high vacuum project in 1988. Before that time, the research field of the author was limited to the surface finishing of metals. However, since 1988 the author has been stimulated by the intense communication with researchers of different fields, and the author’s research field has been expanded even to the standardization of surface analyses. The author has been involved in the activities of Japan Vacuum Society and Surface Science Society of Japan since 1980’s. Through these activities in societies, the author could get to know many nice researchers, and these researchers help the author to challenge new research fields. Extreme high vacuum is one of the bridges between vacuum and surface. The author believes there are many bridges between vacuum and surface, and communications through these bridges will make the society more active.
Surface science had been an imperfect science in the early 20th century because surfaces were unstable resulting in poor repeatability in its experiments. The real science about solid surfaces came from combination of ultrahigh-vacuum technology, which serves a clean environment, semiconductor technology, which supplies dislocation-free crystals, and new characterization techniques, such as scanning probe microscopy. After the establishment of surface science for solid surfaces, it has been expanding to atmospheric and liquid environments. Surface science will be leading science and technology in nano-era because materials are almost composed of surfaces at this stage.
The current status of the basic scientific research in Japan is reviewed based on international statistic data of research expenditures and number of researchers in Japan and other countries in the past 35 years. In comparison with some countries selected from America, Europe, and Asia, it appears that the basic research in Japan is facing a serious problem, which may have stemmed partly from the nation's economical stagnation. The importance of the basic research as a potential source of innovation is discussed.
Hydrogen and water are the molecules of scientific and technological importance in a variety of disciplines including physics, chemistry, and materials science among others. We review our recent studies on the interaction of hydrogen and water with metallic and metal oxide surfaces from the viewpoint of surface and vacuum science.
The history of vacuum technology was analyzed by a “discovery-incubation-new industry” model. In the present third cycle, surface analysis and surface science have been emerged along with the advent of ultra-high vacuum technology. The future trend of surface science was discussed.