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C1s Peak of Adventitious Carbon Aligns to the Vacuum Level: Dire Consequences for Materials Bonding Assignment by Photoelectron Spectroscopy
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4898-5115
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2837-3656
2017 (English)In: ChemPhysChem, ISSN 1439-4235, E-ISSN 1439-7641, Vol. 18, no 12, 1507-1512 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The C1s signal from ubiquitous carbon contamination on samples forming during air exposure, so called adventitious carbon (AdC) layers, is the most common binding energy (BE) reference in X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies. We demonstrate here, by using a series of transition-metal nitride films with different AdC coverage, that the BE of the C1s peak E-B(F) varies by as much as 1.44 eV. This is a factor of 10 more than the typical resolvable difference between two chemical states of the same element, which makes BE referencing against the C1s peak highly unreliable. Surprisingly, we find that C1s shifts correlate to changes in sample work function phi(SA), such that the sum E-B(F) + phi(SA) is constant at 289.50 +/- 0.15 eV, irrespective of materials system and air exposure time, indicating vacuum level alignment. This discovery allows for significantly better accuracy of chemical state determination than offered by the conventional methods. Our findings are not specific to nitrides and likely apply to all systems in which charge transfer at the AdC/substrate interface is negligible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
WILEY-V C H VERLAG GMBH , 2017. Vol. 18, no 12, 1507-1512 p.
Keyword [en]
analytical methods; binding energy; surface analysis; surface chemistry; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
National Category
Condensed Matter Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-139284DOI: 10.1002/cphc.201700126ISI: 000403885800004PubMedID: 28295951OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-139284DiVA: diva2:1120973
Note

Funding Agencies|VINN Excellence Center Functional Nanoscale Materials (FunMat) [2005-02666]; Swedish Government Strategic Research Area in Materials Science on Functional Materials at Linkoping University [SFO-Mat-LiU 2009-00971]; Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation [2011.0143]; Aforsk Foundation [16-359]

Available from: 2017-07-07 Created: 2017-07-07 Last updated: 2017-08-27

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