About X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy

X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) can analyze the chemistry of a sample, within approximately 6 nanometers or less of the surface.  XPS is also known as ESCA, an abbreviation for Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis. Detection limits for most of the elements are in the parts per thousand range.

  • Approaches

    The XPS method determines the chemical composition of the outermost one to ten molecular layers of a sample.  It is very important that no materials be intentionally added to, or removed from, the region of the sample that is of interest. 

    Small Spot X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) uses the Phi Quantera Scanning X-ray microprobe to perform XPS analysis on spots as small as 20 microns.

    The sampling depth of the XPS is about 10nm.

  • Sample Considerations

    Since this technique analyzes the surfaces of samples it is critical that the sample is handled, packaged, and shipped properly.  It is best to talk directly with our scientists prior to sending samples.  We will provide guidance on the packing and shipping of samples and may offer to send proper packaging materials to you. 

    The specimens that are put into the XPS spectrometer are typically about an inch in diameter and a half inch or less in height.  The XPS instrument operates at high vacuum so volatile components of a sample will be removed during the pump-down cycle.  The XPS method documents the elements from the nonvolatile chemical compounds that are in the surface region of the sample.

    Contact us with your specific sample consideration questions.

  • Experience

    Work we've done:

    • Unknown contamination identification on small features
    • Chemical bonding information (both surface and in-depth)
    • Chemical composition information
    • Adhesion problems
    • Failure analysis
    • Competitive product analysis
    • Deformulation

    Products we've tested:

    • Metal surfaces
    • Treated surfaces
    • Chemically modified surfaces
    • Polymeric samples
    • Silicone contamination
    • Inorganic surfaces