Lecture: Surface Analysis Techniques and Applications

prof. Saulius Kaciulis, prof. Alessio Mezzi

(Institute for the Study of Nanostructured Materials, ISMN – CNR)


The importance of surface analysis is constantly increasing due to the enhancement of research topics dedicated to the nanotechnology and nanostructured materials for the use in the fields of microelectronics, anticorrosive and antiwear coatings, biomedicine, gas sensing, innovative metallurgy, etc. The shrinking dimensions of the devices and increasing role of the processes, taking place on the materials surface, are defining the demand for surface characterization of new materials. The present course is dedicated to the principles and applications of the main techniques of surface analysis: XPS, AES and SIMS.

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), also known as Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA), is used to determine quantitative atomic composition and chemistry.

Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) is a surface-specific technique that utilizes a high-energy electron beam as an excitation source. Atoms excited by the electron beam can relax through the emission of Auger electrons with kinetic energies, which are characteristic of elements present at the sample surface.

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) is a technique capable to detect very low concentrations (down to sub-parts-per-million) of dopants and impurities. It can provide elemental depth profiles over a depth range from nanometers to microns.

Numerous examples of practical application of these techniques for the characterization of different materials will be disclosed during this course:

  1. thin films of semiconductors and metal oxides
  2. anticorrosive and antiwear coatings,
  3. metallic alloys,
  4. composite materials,
  5. nanoparticles
  6. 2D materials.