It is thanks to the semi-conductor industry that development of the new vacuum techniques required for advanced surface chemistry had already begun in the 1950s. When electronic components are assembled knowledge of surface chemistry is important.
The ozone hole
The ozone layer is damaged by reactions on the surfaces of small ice crystals in the stratosphere, for instance when freon from air conditioners splits ozone molecules.
Rust occurs when oxygen reacts with an iron surface. This is an example of how a surface is ruined by corrosion. Ertl’s work helps us to understand corrosion, and this is important in preventing accidents in everything from nuclear power to civil aviation.