Powered by ISMN-CNR
Advanced surface analysis laboratory



The importance of surface analysis is constantly increasing due to the enhancement of research dedicated to the nanotechnology and nanostructured materials for the use in the fields of microelectronics, optoelectronics, anti-corrosive and anti-wear coatings, biomedicine, biotechnology, gas sensing, etc. Constantly shrinking dimensions of the devices and increasing role of the processes, taking place on the materials surface, are defining the increasing demand for surface characterization of innovative materials. At the ISMN is present the Lab of surface analysis, exploiting the mostly diffused techniques of surface analysis: electron spectroscopies XPS, AES and UPS.

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), also known as Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA), is used to determine quantitative atomic composition and surface chemistry. Its sampling volume extends from the surface to a depth of approximately 5 - 10 nm. Alternatively, XPS can be utilized in combination with sputter depth profiling to characterize thin films and coatings by quantifying the distribution of chemical species in 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. Excited atoms can relax through the emission of Auger electrons with kinetic energies, which are characteristic of elements present at the sample surface. AES can be also employed for sputter depth profiling and for high resolution chemical imaging of conductive materials.

Ultraviolet Photoelectron Spectroscopy (UPS) is based on the photoemission excited by the He I or He II sources. UPS is a very surface- sensitive technique, probing only few monolayers of the surface and is used for the investigation of the valence band of compounds.

The Laboratory is equipped with two spectrometers: Escalab MkII and Escalab 250Xi.

Surface analysis techniques are intensively used for the characterization of different innovative materials, such as thin films of metal oxides and semiconductors, anti-corrosive coatings, 2D allotropes of carbon, superalloys, supramolecular assemblies, nanoparticles, biocompatible coatings, etc.

Responsible: Dr. Saulius Kaciulis
Location: ISMN Montelibretti