Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) is generally selected when surface sensitivity and/or good spatial resolution are required. Auger maps illustrate the lateral distribution of surface species with excellent light element sensitivity. Samples need to be electrically conductive for Auger analysis. Composition as a function of depth can be obtained with in-situ argon ion beam.

Auger Features Include

  • Elemental surface composition from atomic numbers 3-92
  • 10-50Å analysis depth
  • 200Å spatial resolution
  • In-situ fracture analysis
  • Heated/cooled stage
  • Large sample size
  • Color maps and line scans
  • Depth profiling

Material issues analyzed with Auger include surface & grain boundary segregation, surface cleanliness, corrosion, semiconductor and electrical contact contamination, and intergranular fracture.

Electrical Contact Analysis

Auger electron spectroscopy identified a discontinuous coating of silver on top of a beryllium-copper contact, resulting in poor electrical behavior. Corrosive and insulating films on contacts can also be analyzed with AES.


Grain Boundary Particle Analysis – Steel Fracture Surface

AES identified the composition of grain boundary particles to be Sb and Cr. The locations of the antimony and chromium phases are illustrated in the colored map. These phases resulted in the embrittlement of an aged steel rotor.

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