XPS was developed in the mid 1960s by K. Siegbahn and his research
group. K. Siegbahn was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1981 for his work in XPS.
The phenomenon is based on the photoelectric effect outlined by Einstein in 1905 where the
concept of the photon was used to describe the ejection of electrons from a surface when
photons impinge upon it. For XPS, Al Kalpha (1486.6eV) or Mg Kalpha (1253.6eV) are often
the photon energies of choice. Other X-ray lines can also be chosen such as Ti Kalpha
(2040eV). The XPS technique is highly surface specific due to the short range of the
photoelectrons that are excited from the solid. The energy of the photoelectrons leaving
the sample are determined using a CHA and this gives a spectrum
with a series of photoelectron peaks. The binding energy of the peaks are characteristic
of each element. The peak areas can be used (with appropriate sensitivity factors) to
determine the composition of the materials surface. The shape of each peak and the binding
energy can be slightly altered by the chemical state of the emitting atom. Hence XPS can
provide chemical bonding information as well. XPS is not sensitive to hydrogen or helium,
but can detect all other elements. XPS must be carried out in UHV conditions. See also UPS.