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Electron spectroscopy is an analytical technique to study the electronic structure and its dynamics in atoms and molecules. In general an excitation source such as x-rays, electrons or synchrotron radiation will eject an electron from an inner-shell orbital of an atom. Detecting photoelectrons that are ejected by x-rays is called x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) or electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA). Detecting electrons that are ejected from higher orbitals to conserve energy during electron transitions is called Auger electron spectroscopy (AES).
Experimental applications include high-resolution measurements on the intensity and angular distributions of emitted electrons as well as on the total and partial ion yields. Ejected electrons can escape only from a depth of approximately 3 nanometers or less, making electron spectroscopy most useful to study surfaces of solid materials. Depth profiling is accomplished by combining an electron spectroscopy with a sputtering source that removes surface layers.
Synchrotron radiation research work has been carried out at the MAX Laboratory in Lund, Sweden, Elettra Storage Ring in Trieste, Italy, and at ALS in Berkeley, CA.
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