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X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy: Towards reliable binding energy referencing
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
2020 (English)In: Progress in Materials Science, ISSN 0079-6425, E-ISSN 1873-2208, Vol. 107, article id 100591Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With more than 9000 papers published annually, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is an indispensable technique in modem surface and materials science for the determination of chemical bonding. The accuracy of chemical-state determination relies, however, on a trustworthy calibration of the binding energy (BE) scale, which is a nontrivial task due to the lack of an internal BE reference. One approach, proposed in the early days of XPS, employs the C 1s spectra of an adventitious carbon layer, which is present on all surfaces exposed to air. Despite accumulating criticism, pointing to the unknown origin and composition of the adventitious carbon, this is by far the most commonly used method today for all types of samples, not necessarily electrically insulating. Alarmingly, as revealed by our survey of recent XPS literature, the calibration procedure based on the C 1s peak of adventitious carbon is highly arbitrary, which results in incorrect spectral interpretation, contradictory results, and generates a large spread in reported BE values for elements even present in the same chemical state. The purpose of this review is to critically evaluate the status quo of XPS with a historical perspective, provide the techniques operating principles, resolve myths associated with C 1s referencing, and offer a comprehensive account of recent findings. Owing to the huge volume of XPS literature produced each year, the consequences of improper referencing are dramatic. Our intention is to promote awareness within a growing XPS community as to the problems reported over the last six decades and present a guide with best practice for using the C 1s BE referencing method.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD , 2020. Vol. 107, article id 100591
Keywords [en]
XPS; Surface chemistry; Adventitious carbon; Binding energy reference; C 1s peak
National Category
Metallurgy and Metallic Materials
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162043DOI: 10.1016/j.pmatsci.2019.100591ISI: 000493221700004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-162043DiVA, id: diva2:1371388
Note

Funding Agencies|Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation Scholar Grant [KAW2016.0358]; Swedish Research Council VRSwedish Research Council [2018-03957]; Aforsk Foundation [16-359]; Carl Tryggers Stiftelse [CTS 17:166]; VINN Excellence Center Functional Nanoscale Materials (FunMat-2) Grant [2016-05156]

Available from: 2019-11-19 Created: 2019-11-19 Last updated: 2019-11-19

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Greczynski, GrzegorzHultman, Lars
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