The imaging of surfaces by means of photoexcitation electron emission microscopy (PEEM) has recently received considerable interest. This is mainly due to the extended use and availability of brilliant synchrotron radiation in the soft x-ray regime which generally facilitates studies with surface specificity and chemical selectivity. The most popular application of the x-ray PEEM (XPEEM) technique concerns studies of magnetic systems and phenomena. By exploiting the high degree of circular or linear polarization of the synchrotron light, the magnetic microstructure in both ferromagnets and antiferromagnets can be visualized. In this contribution we demonstrate the unique potential and the versatility of the PEEM approach, and review the current status with a certain emphasis on experiments with soft x-ray excitation. In some cases, the high-energy excitation studies can be complemented by laboratory experiments employing threshold photoemission with ultraviolet light (UV-PEEM). Current limitations and future developments and perspectives of the PEEM technique applied to magnetic systems are discussed.
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