ESCA Microscopy

Welcome to ESCAmicroscopy @ Elettra

The Scanning photoelectron microscope (SPEM) hosted at the ESCAmicroscopy beamline allows to combine chemically surface sensitive measurements with high spatial resolution. A beam spot down to 120 nm and energy sensitivity within 180 meV using a third generation X-ray source providing more than 109 photons/s in the probe has opened the opportunity for material science to perform micro-characterization on a spatial scale comparable to that of the processes and the phases occurring on morphologically and chemically complex surfaces. The experimental apparatus allows to carry out a manifold of experiments, aiming at quantitative and qualitative chemical characterisation of morphologically complex materials including chemical reactions and mass transport processes leading to lateral changes in the composition, morphology and electronic properties of materials. (Research) (Beamline description)

Research highlights

Electrodeposition and pyrolysis of Mn/polypyrrole nanocomposites: a study based on soft X ray absorption, fluorescence and photoelectron microspectroscopies

Electrodeposition of manganese/polypyrrole (Mn/PPy) nanocomposites has been recently shown to be a technologically relevant synthesis method for the fabrication of Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR) electrocatalysts. In this study …
Bozzini et al., J. Mater. Chem. A (2015).

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Spatially resolved chemical characterization with scanning photoemission spectromicroscopy: towards near ambient pressure experiments

The first measurements of core level photoemission spectroscopy and imaging obtained with spatial resolution of the order of 100 nm at near ambient pressure have been achieved at the SPEM of Elettra.
Sezen H et al., ChemCatChem (2015).

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Tuning electronic properties of carbon nanotubes by nitrogen grafting: Chemistry and chemical stability

The effect of adding nitrogen atoms via plasma treatment on the electronic properties of both v-CNT tips and sidewalls has been investigated by using ultraviolet and X-ray photoemission spectroscopy and spectromicroscopy. Site selective nitrogen grafting near the tips, up to a depth of 4mm, was evaluated, beyond which the properties of the v-CNTs remain unperturbed.
Scardamaglia M, Carbon, Vol. 83, pp. 118-127 (2015).

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Photoelectron spectroscopy of wet and gaseous samples through graphene membranes

This report proposes an alternative ambient pressure approach that can be applied to a broad class of samples and be implemented in conventional PES instruments. It uses ultrathin electron transparent but molecular impermeable membranes to isolate the high pressure sample environment from the high vacuum PES detection system.
Kraus J, Vol. 6 - 23, pp. 14394-14403 (2014).

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Microchemical inhomogeneity in eutectic Pb-Bi alloy quenched from melt

The structure of quenched liquid Pb–Bi eutectic alloy has been studied with photoemission microscopy to investigate transformations occurring to the alloy in the liquid state at different temperature.
Mezzi A et al., Surface and Interface Analysis (2014).

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Where you can find us


EGF 2017, April 26 – 28, 2017, Paris, France

Giornate Nazionali sulla corrosione e protezione, June 28 – 30, 2017, Milano, Italy

EUROMAT 2017, September 17 – 22, 2017, Thessaloniki, Greece

(Browse all the attended conferences)

User Area

Proposal Submission

We invite users and collabrators to discuss their proposals with the beamline local contacts well in advance before the submission deadline. This is crucial for a careful assesment of the experiment feasibility and may lead to improvements in the proposed experimental plan. In a restricted number of cases, when doubts arise about the suitability of your samples or the planned measurements are too close to the microscope resolution limit, it may be possible for you to arrange a test. Our website provides a wealth of informaiton on experiment feasibilty and proposal submission. For more info, please vist the user info section.

Call for proposals

The deadline for proposal submission for beamtime allocation from January 1st to June 30th, 2017 will be September 15th, 2016.


Dynamic High Pressure (DHP)

A Dynamic High Pressure (DHP) system has been developed at ESCAmicroscopy, it consists of a compact gas injection set up that allows experiments with local pressure near the sample several orders of magnitude higher that the allowable pressure for Xray photoelectron spectroscopy setups. Burst of pressure in the millibar range and few millisecond long are achievable. We believe it can represent a valid option for extending the maximum in operando allowable pressure for defined classes of experiments.

New Piezoelectric Stage

On January 2011 a new Piezoelectric stage, from Physik Instrumente, was installed: the P-733.2UD, a fast scanning stages with large central aperture (2.2 kHz resonant frequency) that offer a 100x100 µm range with a minimum step of 1nm.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 February 2017 12:28