High energy ion scattering spectrometry (HEIS) is a materials analysis technique which can provide absolute concentrations of several elements at once as a function of depth, without the use of standards. Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) can detect elements heavier than the probing ion, while elastic recoil detection analysis (ERDA) yields concentrations of lighter elements in a matrix of heavier atoms. Sensitivity as well as depth, lateral and mass resolution can be adapted to particular analytical requirements by varying parameters such as incident ion mass and energy, angles of the incident and exiting probe ions, detection geometry, beam focusing, and by the addition of subsidiary energy analysis. Although elemental concentration profiles are absolute with these techniques, they provide no information about chemical bonds, and are thus complementary to other depth profiling methods such as Auger electron spectrometry (AES), secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and X-ray photoelectron spectrometry (XPS). The techniques are described in general, sources of more detailed information are referenced, and some examples are provided which illustrate their application to various (including optical) materials.