Landolt-Börnstein - Group III Condensed Matter Preliminary remarks


This chapter presents the basic concepts and principles of X-ray diffraction of surface structures and scattering techniques which are based for the study of surfaces as well as relevant data. X-rays interact rather weakly with atoms in solids and liquids, and a typical penetration length of 1 Å radiation in matter ranges from a minimum of several thousandths of a millimeter to a few millimeters. It would seem that X-rays would be the least suitable probe for surfaces, in view of their high penetration length, and this explains why surface X-ray diffraction (SXRD) and scattering is a relatively recent development, compared to more strongly interacting probes such as electrons and helium or other atoms. On the other hand, the details of the interaction between X-rays and atoms are well established and the interpretation of a SXRD pattern is rather straightforward, compared to a LEED experiment, for example. A nice feature of SXRD is that it is entirely free of multiple scattering, which means that the simple kinematic theory is applicable because each scattering event is single. SXRD is not the only technique used for X-ray scattering from surfaces. Another related technique makes essential use of the X-rays scattered by the bulk to excite fluorescence from surface atoms. This technique, based on the existence of a system of standing waves inside and outside the crystal is complementary to SXRD.

Cite this page

References (3)

About this content

Title Preliminary remarks
Book Title
Interaction of Radiation with Surfaces and Electron Tunneling
8.3.1 Introduction
Book DOI
Chapter DOI
Part of
Landolt-Börnstein - Group III Condensed Matter
  • G. Chiarotti
  • Authors
  • R. Colella
  • Cite this content

    Citation copied