Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), also known as scanning Auger microscopy, is a surface analysis technique that helps identify small particles, contamination, stains and passivation layers on conductive or semi-conductive materials such as small diameter wires or bonding pads. As a result, this technique is a helpful testing technique that can help manufacturers ensure product quality, cleanliness and safety.
Auger Electron Spectroscopy Analysis
How Does Auger Electron Spectroscopy Analysis Work?
AES uses an incident electron beam to excite a solid resulting in the emission of electrons known as Auger electrons. An energy analysis of these Auger electrons provides the analytical information for this technique.
The AES process can be broken down into four parts:
- The survey scan, which identifies the elemental composition of the analyzed surface.
- The multiplex scan, which measures the atomic concentration of the elements identified in the survey scans. Detection limits are approximately 0.1 atom percent for most elements.
- The mapping process, which measures the lateral distribution of elements on the surface, with spatial resolution being approximately 0.3 microns.
- The depth profile, which measures the distribution of elements as a function of depth into the sample. Depth resolution is dependent upon sample and sputtering parameters (less than 100 Å resolution is not unusual). Typical sputtering rate is ca. 30 Å/min.
Learn how AES analysis helped determine the cause of a head crash on magnetic disks.
Applications & Industries
Auger Electron Spectroscopy Applications & Industries
- Identifying elements or contaminants present on a surface.
- Determining atomic concentrations of elements present on a surface.
- Mapping the lateral distribution of elements.
- Measuring the distribution of elements as a function of depth.
- General manufacturing
- Medical device
- Electronics and hard drive manufacturing
Learn how AES helped uncover the cause of a stain on a titanium electrode.
Auger Sample Requirements
Auger Sample Requirements
- Sample size: Samples of AES have a maximum size of ¾”x½” (18 mm x 12 mm), and height should not exceed ½” (12 mm).
- Sample type: The sample must be conductive or area of interest must be grounded properly. Insulating samples including thick insulating films (ca. 3000 Å) cannot be analyzed.
- Sample compatibility: The sample must be compatible with high vacuum environment (ca. 1×10-9 Torr).
- The typical analysis time is about ½ hour per sample. However, depth profiles may take longer depending on the total depth being sputtered.
- Reproducibility has a 10% relative error (i.e. estimated error in repeated analyses) and a 20% absolute error (i.e. error between analysis and known standard).
- The minimum area of analysis is 0.3 microns.
Contact Innovatech Labs for AES Today
Innovatech Labs provides prompt service on all AES analysis samples. In fact, most samples can be analyzed in five or fewer business days. Contact us today for more information about ESCA analysis.