Mean free paths for inelastic scattering (λ) of low energy electrons in poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) have been determined by measuring Al Kα excited C 1s and Si 2s photoelectron signal intensities as a function of ellipsometrically determined thicknesses of PMMA overlayers on silicon substrates. The λ values obtained are 29 ± 4 Å for 1196 eV electrons and 33 ± 5 Å for 1328 eV electrons. These data are necessary for the quantitative analysis of the surface region of PMMA and similar polymers by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The magnitude of the λ values determined indicates that XPS measurements can provide chemical information about the surface region of polymers, such as PMMA, in the depth range of ∼6 to 100 Å. The results of this study are compared and discussed with respect to λ values determined for other organic compounds.
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