What is Auger? The Auger process is a means of doing spectroscopy from electrons that are emitted from the first few mono atomic layers of the specimen surface. It was first seen by Dr. Pierre Auger in France during the 1920s. For a brief discussion on Auger electron spectroscopy click here.
Our experience with Auger surface analysis goes back about 25 years. Our current instrument is a JEOL JAMP-7800.This is a high resolution instrument with a LaB6 filament and hemispherical analyzer. The instrument is highly computer controlled including sample rotation during ion sputtering (also called Zalar rotation) to prevent surface roughening.
This instrument also has an energy dispersive x-ray spectrometer. Although very uncommon in surface analysis instrumentation, the EDS is like a crystal ball allow one to see up to 1000X times deeper than the signal depth of the Auger electron signal. This allows us to see interfaces as they approach and also provides a quick indication of what elements are present in the sample.
We perform real quantitative Auger analysis on many samples. A few examples are on silicon carbide and other carbides and silicides. This is unusual for analytical laboratories. We can do it since we have a vast supply of calibration standards. We determine our own sensitivity factors. If your sample is stoichiometric and we have the standard our accuracy will be within a few atomic %.
Likewise, we also are a supplier of ion sputter standards so we can often provide fairly accurate depth scales for our depth profiles. If the sample is flat relative to the ion sputter depth our stylus profilometer can be used to determine the ion sputtering rate.