Atomic Auger spectroscopy: Historical perspective and recent highlights

Mehlhorn, W.
February 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 506 Issue 1, p33
Academic Journal
The non-radiating decay of an inner-shell ionized atom by the emission of an electron was discovered by Pierre Auger in cloud-chamber experiments in the years 1923 to 1926. The first spectroscopic investigation of Auger electrons was performed by Robinson and Cassie in 1926, marking the birth date of Auger spectroscopy. The following seven decades of Auger spectroscopy will be divided into three periods. In the first period (1926–1960) Auger spectroscopy was mainly connected with β-ray spectroscopy where inner-shell ionization of atoms in the solid state was caused either by γ-conversion or by electron capture. The second period (beginning in 1960) is characterized by the external excitation of gas-phase or free metallic atoms, opening Auger spectroscopy to electron energies in the range of few eV to few keV. The third period (beginning in 1977/78) is characterized by the use of synchrotron radiation with its outstanding properties of tunability, polarization and narrow-band high intensity for the excitation and ionization of inner-shell electrons. Finally, two recent highlights of Auger spectroscopy, the interference between photo- and Auger electron with equal energies and an “almost” complete experiment for Auger decay, will be presented. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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