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Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility
KIT-Campus North

Building 440

H.-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1

76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany


phone: +49(721)608-23123

fax: +49(721)608-26273

knmf-userofficeFcw4∂kit edu

User Office

KNMF Profile

X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)

KNMF Laboratory for Microscopy and Spectroscopy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy is the most widely used surface analysis technique to provide both quantitative atomic concentration and chemical state information of the detected elements. X-ray irradiation of surfaces results in the emission of photoelectrons whose energies are characteristic of the elements. The information depth is approximately 5–7 nm. Angle-resolved XPS offers non-destructive resolution of structures within the XPS sampling depth, e. g. layer ordering, composition and thickness can be determined. Moreover, XPS can be utilized for sputter depth profiling to characterize thin films and multi layer systems by quantifying matrix-level elements as a function of depth.

Download technology description (PDF)


Dr. Michael Bruns

Phone +49 721 608-22641
Fax +49 721 608-922641
Email michael brunsQrt0∂kit edu
Institute for Applied Materials (IAM-ESS) - www.iam.kit.edu


K-Alpha XPS Spectrometer

  • Mono AlKα X-ray source, spot size 30–400 μm (spatial resolution)
  • Energy resolution < 0.5 eV FWHM Ag 3d5/2
  • Ion gun for sputter depth profiling, 100–3000 eV Ar+ ion energy
  • Charge neutralisation system
  • 50 x 60 mm2 sample stage, sample height max. 15 mm
  • Tilt stage enabling ARXPS
  • Glove-box for atmosphere-contact free sample transfer: O2 < 1ppm, H2O < 1ppm

ESCA 5 / Alpha 110 analyser

  • MgKα/AlKα dual anode X-ray source
  • Energy resolution < 0.85 eV FWHM Ag 3d5/2 (MgKα)
  • Ion gun for sputter depth profiling, 300–3500 eV Ar+ ion energy
  • Max. sample dimensions 15 x 15 x 2 mm2
  • In-situ sample cooling and heating (-190–500 °C)
  • Fracture stage and T-peeler
  • Additional methods:
    – UPS (UV photoelectron spectroscopy)
    – RGA (residual gas analysis, mass range 1–300 amu)


  • All elements are detectable except for H and He
  • Sample has to be a solid at RT and stable under vacuum conditions, powders are possible
  • Depending on the chemical composition samples might be sensitive to X-ray irradiation

Typical results

Figure 1 Fig. 1:
Non-destructive ARXPS concentration depth profile of an Al-Si-oxide membran
Figure 2 Fig. 2:
C 1s XPS spectra from PS surfaces after laser modification in O2 atmosphere