X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) or Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA)

X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS Analysis), also known as Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA), is used to determine quantitative atomic composition and chemistry. It is a surface analysis technique with a sampling volume that extends from the surface to a depth of approximately 50-100Å. XPS can also be used for sputter depth profiling to characterize thin films by quantifying matrix-level elements as a function of depth. XPS is an elemental analysis technique that is unique in also providing chemical state information for the detected elements, such as distinguishing between sulfate and sulfide forms of sulfur. The process works by irradiating a sample with monochromatic X-rays, resulting in the emission of photoelectrons whose energies are characteristic of the elements within the sampling volume.

EAG uses X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy in a variety of applications to help customers, across a range of industries, with R&D, process development/improvement and failure analysis.

Examples include:

  • Identifying stains and discolorations
  • Characterizing cleaning processes
  • Analyzing the composition of powders and debris
  • Determining contaminant sources
  • Examining polymer functionality before and after processing to identify and quantify surface changes
  • Obtaining depth profiles of thin film stacks (both conducting and non-conducting) for matrix level constituents and contaminants (down to the low % level)
  • Assessing the differences in oxide thickness between samples
  • Measuring lubricant thickness on hard disks

These insights into a sample’s chemical makeup allow you to make product and process improvements more quickly, enabling you to reduce cycle time and save money.

With EAG, you also have access to the best facilities, instruments, and scientists available for performing XPS analyses. We handle many different materials from multiple industries, giving us a very wide range of experience. Plus, our person-to-person service ensures that you will receive answers to all of your questions.

Ideal Uses
  • Surface analysis of organic and inorganic materials, stains, or residues
  • Determining composition and chemical state information from surfaces
  • Depth profiling for thin film composition
  • Thin film oxide thickness measurements (SiO2, Al2O3)
Technical Specifications

Signal Detected: Photoelectrons from near surface atoms
Elements Detected: Li-U Chemical bonding information
Detection Limits: 0.01 – 1 at% sub-monolayer
Depth Resolution: 20 – 200Å(Profiling Mode); 10 – 100Å (Surface analysis)
Imaging/Mapping: Yes
Lateral Resolution/Probe Size: 10 µm – 2 mm

  • Chemical state identification on surfaces
  • Identification of all elements except for H and He
  • Quantitative analysis, including chemical state differences between samples
  • Applicable for a wide variety of materials, including insulating samples (including paper, plastics, and glass)
  • Depth profiling with matrix-level concentrations
  • Oxide thickness measurements
  • Detection limits typically ~ 0.1 at%
  • Smallest analytical area ~10 µm
  • Limited specific organic information
  • Sample compatibility with UHV environment

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