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Auger Electron Spectroscopy in Analysis of Surfaces


  1. John M. Lannon Jr1,
  2. Charter D. Stinespring2

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a2503

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Lannon, J. M. and Stinespring, C. D. 2006. Auger Electron Spectroscopy in Analysis of Surfaces. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    MCNC, Research Triangle Park, USA

  2. 2

    West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) is an electron energy spectroscopy which probes the electronic energy levels of atoms, using electron or X-ray beam stimulation. Irradiation of a sample with one of these stimuli causes electron emissions which can be energy analyzed to obtain an energy distribution. Since the energies of the Auger electrons are characteristic of the atomic core and/or valence level energies, they contain chemical information about their source atoms. As a result, the recorded energy spectra can be analyzed to determine the atomic composition (atomic percent) of the sample, and, in some cases, extract chemical bonding information. Further, since the escape depth of Auger electrons is limited to the first few monolayers of the sample, the technique has a high surface sensitivity. When used in conjunction with an ion source, AES can provide compositional information as a function of depth (depth profiling). Although AES was initially used primarily for fundamental surface science applications, the technique has developed into an important analytical tool for a broad range of surface and materials science applications, including surface reaction studies, surface segregation studies, and thin film growth studies.