Standard Guide for Handling Specimens Prior to Surface Analysis
Proper handling and preparation of specimens is particularly critical for analysis. Improper handling of specimens can result in alteration of the surface composition and unreliable data. Specimens should be handled carefully so as to avoid the introduction of spurious contaminants. The goal must be to preserve the state of the surface so that analysis remains representative of the original subject.
AES, XPS, and SIMS are sensitive to surface layers that are typically a few nanometres thick. Such thin layers can be subject to severe perturbations from improper specimen handling (1).
This guide describes methods to minimize the effects of specimen handling on the results obtained using surface-sensitive analytical techniques. It is intended for the specimen owner or the purchaser of surface analytical services and the surface analyst. Because of the wide range of types of specimens and desired information, only broad guidelines and general examples are presented here. The optimum handling procedures will be dependent on the particular specimen and the needed information. It is recommended that the specimen supplier consult the surface analyst as soon as possible with regard to specimen history, the specific problem to be solved or information needed, and the particular specimen preparation or handling procedures required. The surface analyst also is referred to Guide E 1078 that discusses additional procedures for preparing, mounting, and analysis of specimens.
1.1 This guide covers specimen handling and preparation prior to surface analysis and applies to the following surface analysis disciplines:
1.1.1 Auger electron spectroscopy (AES),
1.1.2 X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA), and
1.1.3 Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).
1.1.4 Although primarily written for AES, XPS, and SIMS, these methods may also apply to many surface-sensitive analysis methods, such as ion scattering spectrometry, low-energy electron diffraction, and electron energy loss spectroscopy, where specimen handling can influence surface-sensitive measurements.
1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.
1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
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