Modern, third generation, synchrotron radiation sources are superior in flux and brillance compared to second generation sources by many orders of magnitude. Furthermore, they provide soft-x-ray radiation with variable polarization. Hence, new opportunities for soft x-ray spectroscopy have emerged in recent years.
In my talk, I will present some examples from surface and cluster physics where this is illustrated for low-dimensional nanoscale systems. Those examples will include the investigation of magnetic properties of small supported metal clusters, the electron dynamics at surfaces and the early stages of interface formation at semiconductor surfaces.
Finally, I will discuss the new perspectives for soft x-ray spectroscopy resulting from the development of free electron laser sources