ASTM E1078 - 14

    Standard Guide for Specimen Preparation and Mounting in Surface Analysis

    Active Standard ASTM E1078 | Developed by Subcommittee: E42.03

    Book of Standards Volume: 03.06


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 Proper preparation and mounting of specimens is particularly critical for surface analysis. Improper preparation of specimens can result in alteration of the surface composition and unreliable data. Specimens should be handled carefully so as to avoid the introduction of spurious contaminants in the preparation and mounting process. The goal must be to preserve the state of the surface so that the analysis remains representative of the original.

    4.2 AES, XPS or ESCA, and SIMS are sensitive to surface layers that are typically a few nanometres thick. Such thin layers can be subject to severe perturbations caused by specimen handling (1)4 or surface treatments that may be necessary prior to introduction into the analytical chamber. In addition, specimen mounting techniques have the potential to affect the intended analysis.

    4.3 This guide describes methods that the surface analyst may need to minimize the effects of specimen preparation when using any surface-sensitive analytical technique. Also described are methods to mount specimens so as to ensure that the desired information is not compromised.

    4.4 Guide E1829 describes the handling of surface sensitive specimens and, as such, complements this guide.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide covers specimen preparation and mounting prior to, during, and following surface analysis and applies to the following surface analysis disciplines:

    1.1.1 Auger electron spectroscopy (AES),

    1.1.2 X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS and ESCA), and

    1.1.3 Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).

    1.1.4 Although primarily written for AES, XPS, and SIMS, these methods will also apply to many surface sensitive analysis methods, such as ion scattering spectrometry, low energy electron diffraction, and electron energy loss spectroscopy, where specimen handling can influence surface sensitive measurements.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E673 Terminology Relating to Surface Analysis

    E983 Guide for Minimizing Unwanted Electron Beam Effects in Auger Electron Spectroscopy

    E1127 Guide for Depth Profiling in Auger Electron Spectroscopy

    E1523 Guide to Charge Control and Charge Referencing Techniques in X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy

    E1829 Guide for Handling Specimens Prior to Surface Analysis


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 71.040.50 (Physicochemical methods of analysis)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/E1078-14

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM E1078-14, Standard Guide for Specimen Preparation and Mounting in Surface Analysis, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2014, www.astm.org

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