In order to meet the challenges of more economical and environmentally benign energy production, a new generation of complex materials and devices are being developed, such as thin film solar cells, fuel cells and batteries. In all stages of development, there is a requirement for materials characterization and analysis.

Recent developments in spectrometer hardware and software design have made the unique capabilities of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) more accessible to scientists and engineers.

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is ideally suited to the determination of the surface chemistry and the way in which that chemistry changes in the surface and near-surface region. The technique provides quantitative elemental and chemical information with extremely high surface sensitivity and is ideal for comprehensively characterizing the elemental composition and chemical bonding states at surfaces and interfaces. Deviations from desired chemistry can often occur during the fabrication process; this is especially true at the crucial interfacial regions where precise chemical engineering meets its greatest challenges.

Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) is an analytical technique used in electron microscopes to determine sample chemistry. EDS collects characteristic x-rays generated by the rastering scan of the electron beam to generate a full elemental x-ray spectrum at each pixel of the electron image. The latest generation EDS silicon drift detectors are capable of collecting and storing hundreds of thousands of x-ray counts per second. This large volume of x-ray data collected across the sample allows for rapid identification and characterization of surface defects and lateral compositional variations. Additionally, software advances now allow rapid, multivariate statistical analysis processing of very limited amounts of x-ray data to determine not only the elemental distribution across the sample but also the chemical phase distribution.

In this webinar, we describe, with examples how EDS and XPS can be used to characterize and perform failure analysis on modern energy materials.