Surface Analysis Facility


The Perkin Elmer PHI-660 Scanning Auger Microscope provides sputter depth profiles of surfaces.

Perkin Elmer PHI-660 Scanning Auger Microscope


The Perkin Elmer PHI-660 scanning Auger microprobe can be used for the compositional analysis of specimen surfaces using Auger electron spectroscopy (AES). The probe depth of AES is on the order of only a few atomic layers, making it possible to execute compositional analysis with sub micron spatial resolution. AES is capable of detecting elements with atomic number three through fifty, but it is more sensitive to lighter elements.

Additionally, the depth distribution of components at and near the surface can be determined using AES in conjunction with inert ion sputtering. The microprobe software package includes AugerScan, for auger electron acquisition and data manipulation, and AugerMap, for scan control and element mapping.

A view of the Auger set up.


This facility utilizes a scanning Auger microprobe, which allows for analysis of surface composition using Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) with a submicron spatial resolution. This microprobe is used to produce:

  • Auger spectra
  • secondary electron images of surfaces
  • elemental line scans and maps
  • and depth profiles.

The depth distribution of components at and near the surface can be evaluated by using AES in conjunction with inert ion sputtering.

  • Auger spectra are obtained from the detection of emitted X-ray and Auger electrons, each of which possess energies characteristic of the parent element.
  • AES can detect all elements except H and He and.
  • AES is most sensitive to light elements. The spectra, however, are only representative of the elements in the topmost atomic layers.
  • The inert ion sputtering process uses an ion gun to accelerate inert gas ions toward the sample surface, removing the near surface atoms.
  • Sputtering can be used in combination with AES to produce elemental depth profiles which are useful in determining the thickness of the compositional layers nearest the surface.

The Phi660 was upgraded by RBD Instruments in 2002. The upgrade includes new computer control boards, cabling and software. The modern Windows-based software package includes AugerScan for auger electron acquisition and data manipulation as well as AugerMap for scan control and elemental mapping.

A close up of the Auger instrument.



Michigan Tech offers many undergraduate and graduate courses related to materials characterization.

One of these relates to surface methods.

CH 5665 - Surface and Interface Science for Chemical and Materials Analysis

Coursework and hands-on laboratory experiences explore physical and chemical properties governing surface processes and the appropriate analysis techniques used to study interfaces and surface chemical reactions. Topics include principles of physical chemistry and materials science for understanding and applying modern surface analysis.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (2-0-2)
  • Semesters Offered: On Demand
  • Restrictions: May not be enrolled in one of the following Class(es): Freshman, Sophomore