Paul van der Heide
2012 | 264pp | £60.50 (HB)
ISBN 9781118062531

I breathed a sigh of relief when I picked this book up. It contains everything that a researcher wanting to perform x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis will need to know about the science, without the padding. I often have to recommend a text that introduces the subject to non-specialists and, while compared to weightier tomes this might seem a little on the slim side, it does the job.

It is clearly set out and can be read out of sequence quite readily for those with more knowledge of the subject. Early on it covers the fundamental principles of XPS, with later chapters covering the more complex issues of spectral interpretation. The explanations and diagrams are clear, concise and relevant. I especially welcomed the explanations of the orbital assignments and the quantum mechanics behind spin orbit splitting and the Auger electron notation, which have always been a source of confusion.

Van der Heide has used some nice case studies of current research topics (iodine impregnated single walled nanotubes and yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) superconducting materials) to illustrate his points. There is even a short Q&A at the end that isn’t too frightening for the non-specialist.

About a quarter of the book is taken up with appendices and lists of other techniques that are useful by way of comparison, as often a researcher needs to consider other possible tools or techniques complementary and alternative to XPS.

It’s quite difficult to find fault with this book, but I would have liked a simpler spectrum quantification example and a list of commonly used core electron binding energies (rather than the full list of all of them). A review or comment on the standalone software programs available for data processing would also be useful.

It is an excellent text and although a competent physicist might already have grasped the principles explained in this book, the multitude of XPS users I come across (PhD chemists, engineers and pharmacists) will find this a breath of fresh air.

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