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A recently developed method to gain information on the near-surface compositional depth profile via analysis of the spectral line shape of Auger or x-ray photoelectrons has been tested. Electron-excited Auger spectra of a series of thin Au films on a Pt substrate have been subjected to this so-called partial intensity analysis. The overlap of the MNN Auger lines of Pt and Au gives rise to quite complex spectra. Subjecting these spectra to a partial intensity analysis reveals that the Au is present as a homogeneous overlayer. The overlayer thickness provided by the analysis is in good agreement with the values expected from the sample preparation. © 1997 American Vacuum Society.