SC7 Saulius Kaciulis

Short Course on


Saulius Kaciulis

Institute for the Study of Nanostructured Materials, CNR of Italy (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. Its sampling volume extends from the surface to a depth of approximately 5 -10 nm. Alternatively, XPS can be utilized for sputter depth profiling to characterize thin films and coatings by quantifying chemical species as a function of depth. XPS as analytical technique is unique in providing chemical state information of the detected elements.

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. AES can be successfully employed for sputter depth profiling and for high resolution chemical imaging of conductive materials.

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. SIMS works by sputtering the sample surface with a beam of primary ions. Moreover, SIMS enables the acquisition of chemical maps.

Numerous examples of practical application of these techniques for the characterization of different materials (thin films of semiconductors and metal oxides, anticorrosive and antiwear coatings, metallic alloys, composite materials, nanoparticles, etc.) will be disclosed during this course.