BCF Database for AES

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Version 1.0 of the Backscattering-Correction-Factor Database for Auger Electron Spectroscopy program provided by NIST provides BSFs of homogeneous materials.

From the NIST website: This database provides values of backscattering correction factors (BCF) of homogeneous materials for quantitative surface analyses by Auger electron spectroscopy (AES). These BCFs are obtained from Monte Carlo simulations based on two models of electron transport in the material, a simplified model and an advanced model. One assumption for the former model is that the primary-electron beam is unchanged, in intensity, energy or direction, within the information depth for Auger-electron emission. This assumption becomes progressively less useful as the primary energy becomes closer to the core-level ionization energy for the relevant Auger transition or for increasing angles of incidence of the primary electrons.

BCFs can be calculated from both models so that users can readily ascertain the magnitudes of differences in BCFs from each model for materials and analysis conditions of interest. Analysts can readily specify the experimental conditions of interest (primary-beam energy, primary-beam angle of incidence, and, for the advanced model, analyzer-acceptance solid angle), the likely or estimated sample composition, the subshell of the element to be ionized, one of three available formulae for the inner-shell ionization cross section, and, for the advanced model, the Auger-electron transition of interest. The user can also select different numbers of trajectories in the Monte Carlo simulations so that tradeoffs can be made between calculation time and precision of the resulting BCF value. While simulations with the simplified model are generally faster than those with the advanced model, BCFs from the advanced model are considered more reliable. The results of a BCF calculation can be stored in a file for later use.

System Requirements: Personal computer operating on Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, ME, XP, Vista, or 7, and hard disc space of at least 50 MB.System

Price: No Charge

You can download the program here – https://www-s.nist.gov/srd_online/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.main&productID=SRD154


XP support has ended

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On April 8th 2014 Microsoft has stopped providing XP support and the result is that PCs still using XP are vulnerable to security threats. As a result, many companies are moving to Windows 7 or 8. Most companies are using 7 as it has been a stable Microsoft operating system that many people are comfortable with. Windows 8 is a programming abomination (I’m just saying), although Microsoft is making it more like 7 as updates become available.

So, now that XP support has ended, what are your options for the PC that you use for your PHI surface analysis system? If you have an existing RBD AugerScan or AugerMap software upgrade product and our RBD 147 PC interface unit, then you can follow the instructions in this post to port your hardware and software over to a new Windows 7 PC.  If you are running Physical Electronics (PHI) software and have XP please contact us more information about our PC upgrades for older PHI X-ray photoelectron (XPS) and Auger (AES) surface analysis systems and subsystems.

Move from XP to 7 procedure:

  1. Print out each of the hardware and multiplier properties dialog boxes in the AugerScan program. The easiest way to do that is to copy/paste each screen into Paint and then print them. Or, you can copy/paste them into Word so that you have all of the settings in one document. You will need to enter these settings into the new PC so that all the hardware control and calibrations stay the same as on your present PC.
  2. If you have RBD’s AugerMap program, print out each of the dialog boxes under System – Properties. You will need to enter these settings into the new PC.
  3. Go to the software download page at the RBD website – https://www.rbdinstruments.com/products/system-pc-upgrades.html .On this page you can download the Win 7 driver and update files. Please read the information and follow the instructions EXACTLY. The Win 7 drivers also work for Win 8.
  4. Note the version number of your software in the Help – About dialog box for AugerScan and AugerMap. If you have the latest release software but can’t find your CDs, you can download the executables from the bottom of the download page. If your AugerScan or AugerMap version is different than the latest release on the RBD downloads page and you can’t find a copy of your program, please contact us before proceeding to get a copy of your specific AugerScan or AugerMap program sent to you.
  5. Install the Win 7 PCI driver onto your new PC.
  6. Move the RBD PCI interface card over from your old PC to your new PC. When you turn on your new PC the drivers should load automatically. If not, direct Windows to the RBD 7 driver files.
  7. Install AugerScan and AugerMap onto your new PC.
  8. Run AugerScan and AugerMap and load in all of the hardware and multiplier properties values from your old PC.

Finally, if your new PC has only PCIe expansion slots and no PCI slots, RBD now provides PCIe interface cards for our 147 unit. Most newer PCs no longer have PCI expansion slots but do have PCIe expansion slots. Note that the PCIe interface card requires different drivers than the PCI interface card.  For a limited time we will take in your old RBD PCI card and give you a $100.00 trade-in credit towards the purchase of a new PCIe interface card.  Contact us for more information at sales at rbdinstruments dot com.

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AugerScan AES XPS software Tutorial

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AugerScan is RBD Instrument’s widely used software program which acquires and massages data on older Physical Electronics PHI X-ray photoelectron and AES Auger surface analysis systems and components. AugerScan is used in conjunction with the RBD Instruments 147 PC Interface unit. The 147 connects to the PC and provides a hardware interface between the software and the system hardware.

This post will explain all of the features and settings in AugerScan and how to configure the software for your particular system type.


Beginning with the first pull down at the top of the status bar we have the File menu.

New New acquisition. Acquisition types include Alignment, survey, multiplex and depth profiles. You can also select the technique – XPS, AES or SIMS.
Open Open a previously acquired or saved file. You can save a file without acquiring it, in which case you can use it as a template for acquisitions of common settings.  For example, you may want to make a file called Elastic Peak which would be used to set the sample to analyzer distance when acquiring AES data.
Close Standard Windows command
Save Standard Windows command
Save as Standard Windows command
Import Imports AugerScan 1.X versions into the 3.X format
Export as Text Export file to ASCII format.  The ASCII format can be used for programs such as Excel and is also the format used by CASAXPS to read in AugerScan files.
Export All as Text Exports multiple files to ASCII format.
Export to Quases Export file to Quases formatQuases software download
Export all to Quases Export selected files to Quases format
Export to Multipak Export to older versions of the PHI Multipak format. Most new surface analysis systems use (or offer as an option) CASAXPS for advanced data massage functions.
Print Standard Windows command
Print Preview Standard Windows command
Print Setup Standard Windows command
Page Setup Standard Windows command
Create Reserved for future use, this command was intended for creating a new Windows object. However, Windows has changed so much that this feature is no longer relevant.
Recent Files A list of the most recent files that were opened. Currently this lists the last 4 files.
Exit Exits and closes AugerScan

The next pull down on the status bar is the Edit menu.

Copy Copies the open file to the Windows clip board. This is used to copy and then paste a survey into Word or some other windows program.
Copy as ASCII Copies the data in an ASCII format to the Windows clipboard.  This feature is used to copy and then paste data in Excel or some other windows program.
Paste Pastes the clipboard into another Windows program
Delete Not used
Mark/Track This is a cursor that displays the intersected energy in eV and the counts in the status bar. It is also used to select elements for the atomic concentration calculation for AES data.
Markers Displays the selected markers or endpoints. When selected the element marker will be displayed on the displayed data peak or in table form. When checked, the selection will be included in the atomic concentration calculation.
Select Endpoints Allows the user to select the endpoints used for the atomic concentration calculation. To use – move the cursor to the desired left end point. Press and hold the left mouse button. Drag the cursor to the desired right hand endpoint, release left mouse button.  This feature is helpful for selecting the peak of interest.
Endpoints Displays the selected endpoints
Annotation Standard Windows command
Element Table Tables used for atomic concentration calculation for AES and XPS, for markers only in SIMS. AES table includes sensitivity factors for 3, 5 and 10kV beam voltage. XPS sensitivity factors include peak and area modes for standard 15kV dual anode and monochromator X-ray sources.
Insert New Object Standard Windows command – seldom used command for inserting things like table or pictures into the data display.
Links Reserved for future use.
Object Reserved for future use.

The next pull down on the status bar is the View menu.

Toolbar The toolbars contain Icon shortcuts to commands and dialog boxes. Once you know these shortcuts they are easier to use than the pull down menus. The View Toolbar command allows the user to enable or disable the toolbars:

  • Main
  • Acquisition
  • Region Selection

We recommend that the tool bars are always selected.

Status bar This is the little box at the bottom of the Augerscan window. It displays pertinent information such as the cursor values and the status of data acquisitions.
Zoom The zoom feature allows you to view an area of interest in the data. To use the Zoom feature, move the magnifying glass cursor to the upper left hand corner of the area of interest. Click the left hand mouse button and drag the box to the lower right hand limit of the area that you want to view. Release the left mouse button. You can perform multiple zooms in.
Restore Un-zooms to the original data display.
Raw Data Displays the raw (original) data.
Transformed data Displays the massaged (transformed) data.
Cycles For depth profiles All region selection, selects cycles as the X axis on the displayed data.
Time Displays the depth profile X axis as time.
Depth Displays the depth profile X axis as depth. This is calculated from the sputter rate set in the Electron/Ion gun properties dialog box.
Expand X axis Expands the X axis display to allow room for text or an image.
Options Allows the user to set options for:

  • General
  • Line Style
  • Annotations
  • Fonts
  • Curve fitting
  • Graph

The next pull down on the status bar is the Acquisition menu.

Start Starts the selected acquisition
Stop Stops the acquisition at the end of the next sweep or cycle
Stop Now Stops the acquisition immediately and the data is not saved
Continue Continues the selected acquisition. This is useful if you want to stop a depth profile at an interface and then acquire a survey, then continue the profile.
Settings Displays all of the settings for the selected acquisition.
Edit Allows the user to remove regions or cycles from a depth profile, and edit the lower and upper limits in surveys.
Sample Properties This menu is where user can enter comments for samples. Typically this is used for 8 sample specimen stages on XPS systems.
New Survey Wide range scan, typically 30 to 1030 or 2030eV for AES and 1100 to 0 binding energy for XPS.
New Multiplex Series of narrow surveys, allows the user to acquire data only on the elements of interest.
New Depth Profile A series of multiplexes with combined with sputter etching acquires the elements of interest vs. depth.
New Alignment (peak) Used to set the elastic peak in AES, and to optimize the position of the sample or X-ray source in XPS.  Data is thrown out at the end of each sweep.
New 3 point depth profile For AES only, a 3 point depth profile makes it possible to get more elements into a depth profile than is practical with the standard depth profile. Since there are only 3 points selected per region (rather than the typical 20 to 50 points per region in a standard depth profile) you can get more elements into the same amount of acquisition time. Good for general trends only as a 3 point profile cannot use the atomic concentration calculation.
Technique Select the technique – AES ( Auger Electron Spectroscopy), XPS (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) or SIMS (Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy)
Options Allows the user to set options related to acquisitions. The most commonly used is the Prompt to Save after acquiring.

The next pull down on the status bar is the Data menu.

Revert to Raw Data Removes all previous data massage functions and restores the display to the original data.
Edit Raw Data A text editor, this command allows the user to edit out data spikes
Differentiate Normalizes background and displays data in peak to peak form.
Smooth Savitzky and Golay smoothing algorithm.
Convert to Counts Data in Augerscan is displayed in counts per second. This command converts the counts per second value to actual counts.
Shift Shifts the data up or down as specified by the use. Useful for compensating for small amounts of sample charging.
Depth Profile Smooth Smoothes Depth profile display. Similar to the data smooth command.
Deconvolute X-ray Line Fourier transform function that sharpens the XPS peaks
Satellite Subtraction Removes satellite peaks from data which improves the resolution (FWHM).
Baseline Removes the background from the selected endpoints.
Curve Fit Used for fitting hypothetical (possible) peaks into existing multiplex data.
Delete Curve Fit Deletes selected curve fit
Atomic Concentration Performs atomic concentration calculation. Peaks and endpoints need to be selected first. If the sensitivity factors are not in the element table you will need to add them before performing this function.
SIMS Relative Sensitivity Factor Used for SIMS data analysis
SIMS Atomic Density Used for SIMS data analysis
Options Set the number of points for smooth and differentiate, list the range for markers and select peak or area for XPS atomic concentrations.

The next pull down on the status bar is the System menu.

Hardware Properties Selects hardware properties for your system type. This is where you tell AugerScan the specific controls that your system has. Depending on the vintage and type of your system, most model numbers are located in the upper left hand corner of the electronic unit.  For card rack type systems, the model numbers are listed on the bottom of the mother board for each board set in the back of the electronics bay. You also set the input (detector), X-ray anode type and energy, and can calibrate the peak positions (scale factor). We provide calibration information with each 147 upgrade.
Multiplier Properties Sets the multiplier voltage for each technique. For AES, the multiplier can be set automatically for different electron beam currents by selecting the appropriate V/F preamp. Select the Preamp Defaults after first setting your preamp type (typically 96A/B) in the Hardware Properties dialog box.
Gun Properties For booking purposes only, this is where the user enters the typical settings for the electron and ion gun. The sputter rate value is used for the atomic concentration depth view.
Diagnostics Used to test the RBD 147 PC interface unit, for most users the DR11 test and DR11 data entry sections are useful for occasional troubleshooting or calibration of electronic components. To run the full diagnostics special jumper cables are needed.
Sputter Simple sputter timer is useful for sputter cleaning samples before analysis.
Ion Gun Control Opens up the ion gun control dialog box for digital ion gun controls such as the 77-070 (04-300 ion gun), 20-520 (Duoplasmatron ion gun) and 11-066/68 (04-303 and 06-350 ion guns).
Stage Control Controls the movement of digitally controlled specimen stages
Neutralizer Control Controls the 04-085 and 04-090 neutralizer
SIMS Positional Alignment Used for mechanically adjusting the SIMS optics to the position of the ion beam.
XPS Mapping Used for 5600, 5700 and 5800 XPS system that have the mapping hardware option. Due to the small count rate at the smallest aperture size this is not really a practical feature. New state of the art imaging XPS systems have much higher count rates while imaging and much better spatial resolution.
Automation Used primarily for digitally controlled specimen stages, this dialog box allows the used to stack up a number of commands and then run all of the commands as a batch.
Enable Batch Feedback Control No longer used.
Disable Batch Feedback control No longer used.

The next pull down on the status bar is the Window menu.

New Window Standard Windows command
Cascade Standard Windows command
Tile Horizontally Standard Windows command
Tile Vertically Standard Windows command
Arrange Icons Standard Windows command
Display All Regions Opens a window for each region in a multiplex or depth profile.  Currently you need to select this option after the acquisition starts or is completed. The next release of AugerScan will have an option for this to happen automatically.
Recent Acquisitions Lists the 4 most recent files.

The next pull down on the status bar is the Help menu.

Help If your operating system is Windows XP then the help menu should still work. If your operating system is Windows 7 or 8 then the Augerscan Help no longer works as Microsoft stopped supporting its own earlier help file format.  Here is a link to an update that will solve the problem in 64 bit PCs:UPDATE 12-14-20

Microsoft took down the links so they are officially no longer supporting their old Help File format.  Which means that Augerscan and AugerMap help files will no longer work.  Thank you Microsoft!

If there is some aspect of AugerScan that you need help with that is not addressed here or in the Help files, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to provide you with the information that you need – RBD Technical Support

The images below list the commands for the shortcut Icons on the Main and Acquisition tool-bars. Once you learn these commands they make it very simple and fast to acquire and massage data.



Augerscan Shortcut Icons