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The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA) technique, which is capable of analyzing a surface layer only 1-nm thick, has contributed to our knowledge of the thin film which protects metals and alloys from environmental attack. Published work, in the main part, concerns laboratory experiments in corrosion science. This work has been reviewed for those common features of successful work which might provide guidance in the applications of the technique in the wider context of corrosion engineering. An extra degree of sophistication is required for industrial work, both in the defining of the problems and in the interpretation of the answers. The author concludes that the probability of success is greatest for those problems where there is a good match between the dimensions of the analyzed zone and those of the zone of interest to the engineer.
surface analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA), photoelectron spectroscopy, corrosion science, corrosion engineering
Reader in chemical metallurgy, Department of Metallurgy and Materials Technology, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey