Ferrous (Fe2+) and ferric (Fe3+) compounds were investigated by XPS to determine the usefulness of calculated multiplet peaks to fit high-resolution iron 2p3/2 spectra from high-spin compounds. The multiplets were found to fit most spectra well, particularly when contributions attributed to surface peaks and shake-up satellites were included. This information was useful for fitting of the complex Fe 2p3/2 spectra for Fe3O4 where both Fe2+ and Fe3+ species are present. It was found that as the ionic bond character of the iron —ligand bond increased, the binding energy associated with either the ferrous or ferric 2p3/2 photoelectron peak also increased. This was determined to be due to the decrease in shielding of the iron cation by the more increasingly electronegative ligands. It was also observed that the difference in energy between a high-spin iron 2p3/2 peak and its corresponding shake-up satellite peak increased as the electronegativity of the ligand increased. The extrinsic loss spectra for ion oxides are also reported; these are as characteristic of each species as are the photoelectron peaks. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.