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This article covers the three most popular techniques used to characterize the very outermost layers of solid surfaces: Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS). Some of the more important attributes are listed for preliminary insight into the strengths and limitations of these techniques for chemical characterization of surfaces. The article describes the basic theory behind each of the different techniques, the types of data produced from each, and some typical applications. Also discussed are the different types of samples that can be analyzed and the special sample-handling procedures that must...

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