The analysis of the surface chemistry of organic materials or of organic molecules at surfaces presents special problems. Firstly there is the requirement of high chemical specificity and the ability to detect small differences in chemical state. Secondly, organics are very sensitive to damage by the radiation used for the analysis. Over recent years, static secondary ion mass spectrometry (SSIMS) has been developed into a technique which is able to provide the power of mass spectrometry for the chemical characterization of surfaces. Furthermore, the advent of time-of-flight mass spectrometry techniques has enabled very high sensitivity with little sample damage. The power of the technique is illustrated by its application to four areas of surface investigation: the adsorption and reaction of propene at a ruthenium single crystal surface; the interaction of organic lubricants at a synthetic `gold' surface; the interaction of bioactive molecules at a model cell membrane surface, and the identification of contamination responsible for adhesive failure.