Studies of Composition of Surfaces and Interfaces with the Use of Auger Electron Spectroscopy
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Processes leading to the Auger electron emission from the sample bombarded with a primary electron beam are discussed. It is shown that every element has its characteristic spectrum of Auger lines, and that owing to a small inelastic mean free path of Auger electrons, information obtained from Auger electron spectroscopy concerns the composition of surface layer of 0.5-1 nm thick. Experimental methods of Auger electron spectroscopy are presented together with problems connected with separation of Auger electrons from the secondary electron spectrum. Advantages and disadvantages of some electron energy spectrometers are considered. Methods of quantitative Auger analysis of homogeneous samples with the use of standards and catalogues of Auger spectra are presented. The role of matrix corrections in quantitative Auger analysis is discussed. Problems arising in Auger analysis of insulating samples are considered and methods of discharging of such samples are presented. Depth profiling of inhomogeneous samples by Auger electron spectroscopy with ion bombardment sputtering is described, and possibilities and limitations of this procedure are discussed. Principles of scanning Auger microscopy are presented. Factors determining the lateral resolution are discussed. Possibilities of Auger electron spectroscopy and scanning Auger microscopy in analysis of composition of grain boundaries exposed by in situ fracture are presented and discussed. Possibilities and limitations of Auger electron spectroscopy in the investigation of solid state surfaces are summarized.
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