AVS 68 Session AS+CA+HC+LS-WeA: Shining a Light on Surface Chemical Metrology: In Memory of Martin Seah

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 2:20 PM in Room 320

Wednesday Afternoon

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(321KB, Nov 18, 2022)
Time Period WeA Sessions | Abstract Timeline | Topic AS Sessions | Time Periods | Topics | AVS 68 Schedule

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2:20 PM AS+CA+HC+LS-WeA-1 Metrology Lights the Way for Advances in Metabolic Imaging at the Single-cell Scale
Ian Gilmore (National Physical Laboratory)

The international community recently paid homage to Martin Seah in a Special Issue of Surface Interface Analysis [1] with reminiscences, biographical accounts of his considerable achievements, reviews and research articles. The collection takes its title “Shining a light on surface chemical analysis” from Martin’s research career of over 5 decades dedicated to guiding the community to make better measurements in traditional and emerging areas of surface chemical analysis. Where there was darkness, he brought light. Here, we begin with a retrospective look at Martin’s considerable achievements in XPS, AES, SIMS, AFM and leadership in International Standardisation.

Martin was never one for too much retrospection though and was always full of energy and enthusiasm to tackle the issues of tomorrow. We therefore show how by using Martin’s methodology that metrology is lighting the way for metabolic imaging at the single-cell scale, which is of critical importance in the development of new pharmaceuticals, understanding tumour heterogeneity and fundamental biological studies to understand metabolic rewiring in diseases.


[1] Gilmore, I.S. (2022), Martin P Seah MBE—Shining a light on surface chemical analysis. Surf Interface Anal, 54: 282-284. https://doi.org/10.1002/sia.7071

3:00 PM AS+CA+HC+LS-WeA-3 Two-Point Calibration Method for Quantifying Organic Binary Mixtures Using SIMS in the Presence of Matrix Effects
Alexander Shard (National Physical Laboratory, U.K.); Ako Miisho (Kobelco); Jean-Luc Vorng, Rasmus Havelund, Ian Gilmore (National Physical Laboratory, U.K.); Satoka Aoyagi (Seikei University)

Quantification of composition for organic mixtures is required in the analyses of technological materials from organic electronics to drug delivery systems. The molecular specificity of secondary ion mass spectrometry provides an unparalleled ability to distinguish organic materials, however it is difficult to use for quantitative analysis. In a few cases, there is a linear dependence between the composition, expressed as a ratio of component volumes, and the secondary ion intensities, expressed as a ratio of intensities of ions from each component. However, this ideal relationship fails in the presence of matrix effects and linearity is observed only over small compositional ranges, particularly in the dilute limits. We present an empirical method which introduces a power law dependence between the intensity ratio and the volume fraction ratio. A physical model of the organic matrix effect is employed to test the limits of the method and a mixed system of 3,3’-bis(9-carbazolyl) biphenyl and tris(2-phenylpyridinato)iridium(III) is used to demonstrate the method. In practice, we describe a two-point calibration, which determines both the exponent in the power law and the sensitivity factor for the conversion of ion intensity ratio into volume fraction ratio. We demonstrate that the two-point method significantly improves the accuracy of quantification compared to a one-point, linear calibration and is valid over a wide compositional range. Since the method enables the use of clearly identifiable secondary ions for quantitative purposes and mitigates commonly observed matrix effects in organic materials, the two-point calibration method could be of significant benefit to SIMS analysts.

3:20 PM AS+CA+HC+LS-WeA-4 OrbiSIMS Metrology: Optimization of Inorganic Depth Profiling using Ge and Sb Delta-layer Samples
Yundong Zhou (National Physical Laboratory); Alexis Franquet, Valentina Spampinato (IMEC); Alexander Pirkl (IONTOF GmbH, Germany); Wilfried Vandervorst, Paul Van Der Heide (IMEC); Ian Gilmore (National Physical Laboratory)

In 2017, NPL introduced the 3D OrbiSIMS instrument 1 for sub-cellular resolution molecular imaging with high-mass resolution and mass accuracy (> 240,000 at m/z 200 and < 2 ppm, respectively). Since then, IONTOF installed multiple Hybrid SIMS systems around the world with a growing range of applications, largely in, but not limited to, the life-sciences.2,3 The dual ToF-MS and Orbitrap-MS analyzers combined with Bi liquid metal, gas cluster, and low energy O2+and Cs+ ion beams provide a highly versatile platform for materials science studies.

Since the Orbitrap-MS is designed to operate with a continuous ion source, the instrument is well configured to take advantage of single ion beam depth profiling approaches. For example, Sul et al4 recently demonstrated the ability to sputter depth profile a blue phosphorescent OLED device using GCIB sputtering with Orbitrap-MS. Similarly, Spampinato used the high-mass resolving power of the Orbitrap-MS to study thin EUV photoresist films where ToF-SIMS suffered from severe molecular interferences. 5 Moreover, there is growing interest in the application of the OrbiSIMS to inorganic semiconductors. Franquet et al6 recently showed how the high mass resolution of the Orbitrap-MS analyzer combined with 2 keV Cs+ sputtering enabled the composition of SiGe architectures down to < 20 nm to be determined with improved accuracy using the Self Focusing SIMS methodology.6

In this study, we use a sample consisting of 8 Ge delta-layers with a spacing of 4.8 nm in a silicon matrix. The thickness of each delta-layer is ~0.2 nm with a concentration of below 1 atom%. A second sample consisting of 5 Sb delta-layers with a spacing of 10 nm in a silicon matrix was also used. A sputter gun using either O2+or Cs+ between 1 keV and 2 keV was used for both sputtering and analysis with Orbitrap-MS detection. The optimization of instrument parameters including sputter rate, injection time and sputter beam energy on the depth resolution (λg, λd and Gaussian broadening)7will be discussed.

1. M.K. Passarelli, et al, I.S. Gilmore, Nat. Methods, 14(2017)12, 1175-1183.

2. C.L. Newell, et al, A.P. Gould, Angew. Chem, 59(2020)41, 18194-18200.

3. J. Zhang, et al, I.S. Gilmore, P.D. Rakowska, Anal. Chem., 92(2020)13, 9008-9015.

4. S. Sul, G. Trindade, J. Kim, et al, https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-1279729/v1 (2022).

5. V. Spampinato, et al, P. V.D. Heide, Anal.Chem. 94 (2022)5, 2408-2415.

6. A. Franquet, V. Spampinato, S. Kayer, W. Vandervorst and P. van der Heide "OrbitrapTM-SIMS Analysis of Advanced Semiconductor Inorganic Structures," submitted to Vacuum (2022).

7. M.G. Dowsett, et al, P.N. Allen, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 12 (1994)186.

4:20 PM AS+CA+HC+LS-WeA-7 Complementary Perspectives on the Impacts of Martin Seah on Surface Analysis
Don Baer (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Throughout his more than four decade career Dr. Martin Seah had a major impact on quantitative surface analysis and the surface analysis community. There were many facets to his activities, interactions, and leadership and most of those who interacted with him knew only a portion of his many contributions. This talk will describe ways that he impacted my career and some of the activities that may have been less visible to many in the surface analysis community. Accurate quantitative surface analysis was a theme throughout his career. My introduction to his work was associated with measurements of the segregation of trace elements to the grain boundaries of metals and metal alloys.In the 1970s understanding of the challenges to quantitative analysis of electron spectroscopy was evolving and results were often inconsistent and sometimes a source controversy. Work by Seah and Hondros was important to put these measurements on a sound foundation. An important trait of Martin’s work was his ability to identify needs or information gaps and to proceed to fill them.There are many examples of this, including application of XPS to measure very thin oxide films on silicon wafers, simple models of electron mean free path lengths, models for understanding sputtering rates of cluster ion sources and the development of consistent terminology for surface methods and analysis. Martin made significant and enjoyable efforts to communicate information to the community and offered encouragement to other researchers in a variety of ways.Although his presentations seemed to be spontaneous and often full of humor, they were always well thought out and delivered clear and important messages. In viewing one of my presentations the year of his death, he made many complementary remarks in email correspondence, but chided me for having too much information on my closing slide.He said that it was important to have a simple clear final message for each talk. A portion of his influence and success was due to many delightful professional and informal social interactions.When he liked a presentation, he would offer a simple “well done” and I very much valued such comments when I received them.At an American Chemical Society Meeting in New York City we went to the half price theatre ticket booth and chose to attend not a Broadway musical but a delightful Arthur Miller play with almost no audience.

5:00 PM AS+CA+HC+LS-WeA-9 The ‘Crypto-Electron’ Question: XPS of Tribo-electrified Insulators
Hagai Cohen (Perlman bdg., The Weizmann Institute)

Recent experiments on tribo-electrification have raised fundamental questions on the role of electrostatic charge in chemical and physical surface activity. Cryptolectrons were claimed to be created and, subsequently, be exploited to establish ‘single-electrode electrochemistry’. However, our XPS study of this problem reveals methodological issues that were not taken into account. I will show that XPS proposes an interesting template for studies of various processes under controlled surface charge conditions, with which limiting factors on the magnitude of electrostatic surface fields can be extracted. How would a cryptoelectron, if existing, look like and can XPS imitate this creature to some extent – these questions and related ones will be discussed.

5:20 PM AS+CA+HC+LS-WeA-10 Effects, in XPS, on Composition Determination Using Different Background Removal Procedures: Single Crystal Fe2O3 as an Example
Christopher R. Brundle (C R Brundle and Associates); Bruce V. Crist (xpsdata); Paul S. Bagus (University of North Texas)

Precision achievable in XPS is very good. Accurate quantitation from relative peak intensities is more difficult, even for homogenous materials. Normalizations for σ and 𝜆 are required, but the procedures are by now well understood. The accuracy of removing a background to establish the intrinsic spectrum is on less secure ground. There are several approaches, and implementation requires adjustment of parameters either manually, or automatically by the software used. The situation is at its most unsure when an XPS core level “peak” consists of overlapping structure spread over a wide (up to several 10’s ev) BE range, such as with Fe 2p (multiplet splitting; shake structure) and O1s (shake) in Fe2O3 (1). The situation is similar for many other transition metal compounds. We examine, for a hematite single crystal, Tougaard and Shirley based background removals. Our conclusion is that the high BE endpoint, ie. where the person taking, or analyzing, the data sets the background to meet the experimental spectrum (implying there is no further intrinsic signal beyond that BE) is critical for high composition accuracy. Obviously, theory input on where intrinsic substructure ends helps to establish what is a reasonable endpoint (1). It is quite possible to adjust endpoints (Fe2p and O1s) to return the “expected” answer, 40% atomic Fe, but this is arbitrary, and, of course, assumes 100% accuracy of the relative σ and relative 𝜆 in addition to assuming a) that the Transmission Function, TF, of the instrument has been accurately calibrated, and b) that a small signal from surface OH is properly accounted for. So, in this presentation we are more concerned with the range in composition returned by each method (and variations within each method), rather than absolute values, when different, but plausible, endpoints are used. We also find that results differ using high energy resolution and low resolution. The two effects together amount to a ~4% variation in determined Fe %age for Tougaard and ~6% for Shirley. We stress that this work represents a practical approach, using the particular versions of the Tougaard and Shirley software available with the instrument involved, and no sample treatment within the instrument, which we believe is the way most practical XPS analyses are actually performed. Finally, we discuss the reasons for the differences observed and examine other possible procedures.

1) Origin of the complex main and satellite features in Fe 2p XPS of Fe2O3, Paul S. Bagus, Connie J. Nelin, C. R. Brundle, B. Vincent Crist, N. Lahiri, and Kevin M. Rosso, PCCP 2022 and references therein.

5:40 PM AS+CA+HC+LS-WeA-11 XPSOasis.org: the XPS Peak-Fitting Network
Alberto Herrera-Gomez (CINVESTAV); Daniel Herrera-Rendon, Enrique Aguilar-Diaz (RDATAA)

The XPSOasis Web platform aims to make available to the XPS community, free of charge, tools that facilitate communication between XPS users; this includes discussion forums, peak-fitting databases (one for each core-level), dynamic communication between users, and free data analysis software. The web platform allows users of different fitting software to easily upload posts to ask questions with images of the fitting that concern them. To answer the questions, the posts contain the data, allowing knowledgeable users to download and work on the recommendations.Novice users can consult expert users in direct conversations. Technical discussions on the analysis of XPS data can also be held.

To hook expert (and non-expert) users, the participation is rewarded with Spicer points, which are accumulated through likes in their posts (given by other users) and when one of their posts reaches the peak-fitting data base (which is a decision of the corresponding moderator).Categories are defined in terms of the points.User belonging to certain categories can compete to become moderators of a certain core-level forum and database.They could also offer courses.Another advantage of having posts in the database is that they become the norm and could be cited.

The usefulness of XPSOasis.org is a function on the availability of peak-fitting parameters for each core-level for each element under a variety of chemical environments.Since it is a user-based platform, it becomes more useful as the number of users posts increases.This is a possible solution (which will, in fact, be provided by the XPS community itself) for the erroneous XPS analyses all too common in the scientific literature.

6:00 PM AS+CA+HC+LS-WeA-12 ASSD Peter Sherwood Mid-Career Award Talk: Advancing X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) Methodologies for Materials Research
Mark Biesinger (Surface Science Western)

Chemical state X-ray photoelectron spectroscopic (XPS) analysis of first row transition metals and their oxides and hydroxides is challenging due to the complexity of the 2p spectra resulting from peak asymmetries, complex multiplet splitting, shake-up and plasmon loss structure, and uncertain, overlapping binding energies. Our work has shown that all the values of the spectral fitting parameters for each specific species, i.e. binding energy (eV), full width at half maximum (FWHM) value (eV) for each pass energy, spin-orbit splitting values and asymmetric peak shape fitting parameters, are not all normally provided in the literature and databases, and are necessary for reproducible, quantitative chemical state analysis.

We have worked toward a consistent, practical, and effective approach to curve fitting based on a combination of 1) standard spectra from quality reference samples, 2) a survey of appropriate literature databases and/or a compilation of literature references, 3) specific literature references where fitting procedures are available and 4) theoretical fittings, where available, of multiplet split reference spectra. The use of well characterized standard samples and fitting of the entire peak shape has been shown to increase our ability to accurately identify and (semi) quantify the various species present in mixed oxide/hydroxide systems [1,2,3]. Additional chemical information has also been elucidated from Auger parameters and by using Wagner plots [4,5]. The unique spectral shapes of the LMM Auger peaks for these transition metals, particularly for Cu [5], have also been shown to be of use for chemical speciation. These methods have been shown to be effective in a wide variety of applications.

An overview of these curve-fitting methodologies will be presented along with examples highlighting how these methods have been used to elucidate complex sample chemistries.A recent assessment of available charge corrections procedures for insulating samples will also be shown [6].


1. M.C. Biesinger, et al., Surf. Interface Anal.41 (2009) 324.

2. M.C. Biesinger, et al., Appl. Surf. Sci.257 (2010) 887.

3. M.C. Biesinger, et al., Appl. Surf. Sci.257 (2011) 2717.

4. J.L. Bourque, M.C. Biesinger, K.M. Baines, Dalton Transactions45 (2016) 7678.

5. M.C. Biesinger, Surf. Interface Anal.49 (2017) 1325.

6. M.C. Biesinger, Appl. Surf. Sci. 597 (2022) 15381.

Session Abstract Book
(321KB, Nov 18, 2022)
Time Period WeA Sessions | Abstract Timeline | Topic AS Sessions | Time Periods | Topics | AVS 68 Schedule