X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is a method of physical analysis for near-surface layers below 10 nm thickness. The investigation is usually a non-destructive method by means of X-rays and detection of the energy released by photoelectrons. This energy is characteristic for elements and orbitals, enabling us to analyze both the element composition and chemical binding states for many materials. XPS spectra can be quantified without standards. By combining XPS with material-removing methods (e.g. ion sputtering), depths of up to a few micrometers can be analyzed.

We perform our XPS measurements on a PHI Quantera II (Physical Electronics). The device works with a monochromatic Al-Kα radiation and is equipped with an argon ion source for measuring depth profiles.

Our Services

  • Surface characterization including quantification of solid materials (metals and their alloys, bond pads, contacts, wafers, plastics, glass, etc.)
  • Determination of the valence states of elements (e.g. oxidation states or the proportions of different binding partners) by unfolding complex peaks into high-resolution element spectra
  • Measurement of near-surface layers in order to study sticking and soldering problems, for example
  • Depth profiling for determining element distribution or measurement of impurities
  • Analysis of stacks of layers
  • Determining lateral element distributions via mappings


  • Analysis of bond pads (oxidized surfaces, incomplete coating, etc.)
  • Analysis of organic and inorganic particles as well as surface contaminations for quality assurance in the field of medical devices, for example
  • Clarification of electrical contact problems and delamination
  • Layer-stack characterization of functional coatings , e.g. on glass, plastics, and metals
  • Characterization of galvanic layers

Sample Requirements

  • Solid samples
  • Sample must be applicable for ultra-high vacuum (stable, no outgassing)
  • Dimensions: max. 75 x 75 x 20 mm³
  • Sample weight: max. 750 g


  • Detection limit (element-dependent): 0.01 - 1 At.%
  • Minimum area for measurement Ø approx. 50 microns (best case ≥30 microns)
  • Depth resolution: 0.1 - 10 nm
  • Depth profiles via sputtering with Ar-ions up to approx. 2 microns (max. 4 microns)
  • Angular-resolved measurements for characterization of ultra-thin layers < 6 nm thickness


House method
SOP M 1177
Surface, thin-film and microanalytical studies of materials using photoelectron spectrometry (XPS: X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometry)


Königsbrücker Landstr. 161
01109 Dresden

t +49 351 8841-200
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