Open Surface Structure Database (oSSD)

Open access version of NIST SSD, Version 5

A collection of quantitative surface structures published 1974 - 2004




The Open Surface Structure Database (oSSD) collects quantitative surface structures from experimental studies published between 1974, the beginning of surface crystallography, and 2004, when all "basic" structures had been explored. It is the open access version of Version 5 of the Surface Structure Database (SSD, Database # 42) published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and distributed until 2011. At present, there are no plans to update the collection by including more recent surface structures. However, oSSD has been updated to run also on PCs with MS Windows V. 10.

The oSSD provides extensive information about critically selected surface structures. A unified format is used to allow convenient direct comparisons of related but different structures, or of results obtained with different techniques for the same structure. Powerful tools are available for searching the database and for the graphical visualization and analysis of individual structures. The minimum criteria for including structures in the database were:

  • publication or acceptance in refereed journals or proceedings before 2003;
  • determination with proven techniques and analysis methods;
  • reasonable completeness of the structure determination;
  • complete description of the structure.

The oSSD includes:

  • commensurate structures (which covers most solved structures);
  • incommensurate structures (formed for instance by physisorption);
  • disordered structures of adsorbates and alloys;
  • solid-solid interfaces.

Unintentional omissions of structures and errors in our tabulations are possible. The authors of affected structures are invited to submit their corrections directly to one of the database authors.



  • IBM PC with Pentium or higher cpu (at least 1 GHz) and at least 2 GB memory
  • Windows up to V. 10.


Download the latest version

You may also download selected files of the oSSD package here.

The oSSD package is open source software and offered "as is" . No responsibilities will be taken by the authors as to programming or scientific errors in the codes.

You can register oSSD by email identifying yourself with your name and institution. Registered users will receive announcements of major updates releases and bug reports. Their email addresses will be treated confidentially and will NOT be passed on to others.

After having downloaded file you may install oSSD on your PC. For instructions see the installation section on this page.


The INSTALLATION of oSSD is straightforward. It requires that you have Administrator status on your PC and and consists in the most general case of five steps. (Note that your browser may have download switches set such that one or more of the following steps are performed automatically.)


  1. Unpack all files by copying the downloaded file to an installation subdirectory, e.g. c:\Install (or any other temporary directory, which must be different from the permanent directory where you wish oSSD to be installed). Unzip inside c:\Install to obtain all system installation files and possibly a file Readme.1st which describes latest changes and gives further advice concerning the installation. Unzip inside c:\Install to obtain all installation files. Unzip inside c:\Install to obtain directory oSSDHtmlHelp with all html help.files. Note that the installation directory cannot be used as the final oSSD directory, see step 2.
  2. Install all oSSD files by running Setup.exe inside the installation directory (see step 1). This will ask you for the name of the final oSSD directory where "c:\Program files\oSSD" is used as a default. This directory, called $oSSD below, will contain the complete oSSD executable package. Move the help directory oSSDHtmlHelp and files oSSD.chm, Survis5.chm to $oSSD.
  3. Install the Compaq fortran runtime libraries by running VFRUN660I.exe in directory $oSSD.
  4. Set an icon of the oSSD executable on the desktop using e.g. the MS Windows Explorer (create a shortcut of oSSD.exe in directory $oSSD and move it to the desktop.) Set an icon of the oSSD manual (create a shortcut of oSSDHtmlHelp/oSSD_0000.htm in directory $oSSD and move it to the desktop.)
  5. Clean up by removing all installation files from the installation directory c:\Install. You may leave the original download file for backup purposes.


NOTE that when unpacking the installation package with MS Windows 10, depending on the security settings, you may get an opening screen "Windows protected your PC" suggesting to abort the installation with a bold text "Don't run" at the bottom. You can ignore this warning by clicking at the "More info" text which shows another bold text "Run anyway" at the bottom. Clicking this button allows you to proceed with the installation. Microsoft considers any software not registered with Microsoft and not available in the Microsoft Store as "unrecognized" and and risky to run.

NOTE that the installation package includes Windows system components where some may be versions older than those in your present Windows installation. Always keep your latest component version, i.e. in each case when prompted, DO NOT replace your existing system components by older versions of the oSSD installation package.

NOTE that Microsoft may not include the Visual Basic 6 runtime environment (required by oSSD) in its Windows 8 or later versions by default. However, the VB6 runtime environment can be downloaded from Microsoft and installed in your Windows PC free of charge.

You can inspect the oSSD users manual in directory $oSSD\oSSDHtmlHelp or by running oSSD.chm, Survis5.chm in directory $oSSD but also while running oSSD using the Help menu entries "oSSD manual", "Survis manual", or "Contents".

RUNNING oSSD is achieved in different ways. A typical oSSD run can be started

  • from the Windows program selection:
    choose "All Programs | Programs | oSSD | oSSD" or "Start | Programs | oSSD | oSSD" from the taskbar.
  • from the Windows desktop:
    double-click at the oSSD icon of the desktop. This requires a oSSD icon to exist on the desktop, see step 4 of the installation.
  • from the Windows command line:
    choose "Start | Run..." from the taskbar; type "oSSD" and press "enter".


We are open to any questions and suggestions concerning the oSSD software. You can contact the authors using addresses

  • Prof. Dr. K. E. Hermann
    Department of Inorganic Chemistry
    Faradayweg 4-6
    D-14195 Berlin (Germany)
  • Prof. Dr. M. A. Van Hove (Emeritus)
    Department of Physics
    Hong Kong Baptist University
    224 Waterloo Road
    Kowloon (Hong Kong)
  • Prof. Dr. P. R. Watson
    Department of Chemistry
    Oregon State University
    153 Gilbert Hall
    Corvallis, Oregon 97331-4003 (USA)
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