Centres Científics i Tecnològics UB



The first equipment that combines XPS, UPS, and LEIPS in Spain, will be located at CCiTUB

The CCiTUB will have a new Scanning Photoelectron Spectroscope (ESFOSCAN) thanks to the grant EQC2021-006905-P from the 'Programa Estatal de Generación de Conocimiento y Fortalecimiento Científico y Tecnológico del Sistema I+D+i y del Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientado a los Retos de la Sociedad' provided by the 'Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación', with a funding of 1,251,000 euros.

The new equipment, based on the model PHI VersaProbe 4 Scanning XPS Microprobe from Physical Electronics (ULVAC-PHI), is the first of its kind in Spain and one of the first in Europe and the world.

This new equipment is already in the CCiTUB building to be installed in the coming days in the Surface Analysis laboratory, which is under the responsibility of Dr. Lorenzo Calvo. The ESFOSCAN, which replaces and significantly improves the laboratory's old equipment, will be available to the entire scientific community starting in September. Users will be able to enjoy other scientific infrastructures in the same building that allow for complementary study of materials and their surfaces, such as X-ray Diffraction, Raman and Infrared Spectroscopy, Electron Microprobe, or TEM, SEM, and AFM microscopy.

Characteristics of ESFOSCAN: Faster, more precise, and comprehensive

ESFOSCAN allows XPS measurements (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy), UPS measurements (Ultraviolet Photoelectron Spectroscopy), and LEIPS measurements (Low-Energy Inverse Photoemission Spectroscopy).

This equipment is equipped with an X-ray probe that can microfocus and scan the sample combining highly resolved measurements in area that includes secondary electron images, with nanoscale measurements in the depth axis. This process is carried out with great measurement speed thanks to the most advanced data acquisition technologies on the market (high-transmission analyzer input lenses).

In addition to this groundbreaking system, the equipment features a set of characteristics that enhance its versatility compared to the previous equipment, positioning ESFOSCAN as the European reference equipment in the field of physicochemical analysis of surfaces, interfaces, and multilayer structures. Some notable features include:

• 3 different sputtering sources (monatomic argon, C60 fullerene molecules, and argon clusters) to perform depth profiling on all types of samples (organic, inorganic, or mixed) without chemical damage, thus obtaining short-range chemical environment data at different depths of the material.
• Dual neutralization (positive and negative charges) to study insulating materials that charge differently at various depths.
• Zalar compucentric rotation and tilt for optimizing interface measurements.
• Low-angle acceptance modes and specific analysis software for analyzing ultra-thin layer thicknesses on the nanometer scale.
• Platinum heating and cooling stage (from -120°C to 500°C) and 4 electrical contacts to perform in-situ experiments with temperature and voltage variations during measurements.

Applications of the technology

ESFOSCAN allows for qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis of solid surface samples at the nanoscale (analyzing a depth of only 5 nm) and at the micrometer scale in terms of lateral resolution (measurement area). During analysis, the equipment can also determine the concentration of all chemical elements, except H and He, with detection limits of 0.1% atomic elemental, while evaluating the short-range chemical environment (type of chemical bonding) of these elements. Depth chemical profiles can also be performed to study interfaces and multilayer structures.

Furthermore, combining UPS and LEIPS techniques at the same point of a sample without moving it provides key parameters to understand the band structure of these surfaces and interfaces (such as measurements of the band gap: HOMO, LUMO, electron affinity, ionization energy, bandgap, and work function).

All of this is essential in fields such as materials science and technology, chemical science and technology, physical sciences, nanotechnology, and photonics. The study possibilities offered by all the features of ESFOSCAN will contribute to advancing frontier research in multiple fields, such as metallic alloys, ceramics, polymers and plastics, coatings, dental implants, composite materials, semiconductors, inorganic and organic compounds, identification of surface contaminants, interfacial chemistry, catalysis, energy, drug absorption, microelectronic devices, sensors, corrosion, surface functionalization, thin films, metallurgy, nanostructured materials, or art studies.

State and European funding.

This contract is funded by the European Union's Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, established by Council Regulation (EU) 2020/2094 of 14 December 2020, which establishes a European Union Recovery Instrument to support recovery after the COVID-19 crisis, and regulated according to Regulation (EU) 2021/241 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 February 2021 establishing the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism.

The funding application has received the support of leading researchers in their respective fields of knowledge from public institutions (universities and research institutes), established research groups, as well as foundations and private companies.