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The detailed understanding of complex materials used in information technology requires the use of state-of-the-art experimental techniques that provide information on the electronic and magnetic properties of the materials. The increasing miniaturization of components furthermore demands the use of techniques with spatial resolution down to the nanometer range. A means to satisfy both requirements is to combine the capabilities of conventional X-ray absorption spectroscopy with those of electron microscopy in a new technique designated as X-ray photoemission electron microscopy. This paper reviews the principles of this new spectro-microscopy approach and presents selected applications to the study of materials of interest in information technology.
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