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Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES)

Last updated: December 31, 2018

What Does Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) Mean?

Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) is an analytical technique to determine the elemental composition of a solid surface as well as those in the few layers underneath. It is based on the measurement of the kinetic energy emitted by the Auger electrons of an excited atom on the surface irradiated with a high-energy electron beam.

The energy emitted when the second or Auger electron transfers to another orbit or level is characteristic of the atom that it is a part of. The kinetic energy is determined with a scanning Auger microscope (SAM), a powerful tool that can analyze all elements on a solid surface, except for hydrogen and helium.


Corrosionpedia Explains Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES)

Auger electron spectroscopy is effective for analyzing the composition as well as the estimated concentration of the elements on the surface of solid materials. It is based on the Auger effect, a phenomenon that was observed and reported independently by Lise Meitner and Pierre Victor Auger in 1923 and 1925 respectively.

Some of the important analytical requirements are: an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) environment; solid, conducting and semi-conducting surface samples; and special procedures for non-conducting or insulating samples.

However, it was only in 1953 that AES had practical, industrial applications in corrosion characterization, surface contamination identification and other types of failure analysis.


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