Auger electrons are produced when a sample is bombarded with electrons and a characteristic X-ray produced by inner shell ionization is reabsorbed, ejecting an electron. For example, a Si-Kα (K-L1) X-ray (energy of 1690 eV) may be emitted from a sample or transfer its energy to the L2,3 shell (binding energy ~70 eV), ejecting a Si KL1L2,3 Auger electron (energy 1620 eV).
Auger electron production is quantified by fluorescent yield, ω, which is the fraction of inner shell ionization that produce X-rays (thus, 1 - ω gives the fraction of Auger electrons). Auger electron have energies characteristic of their atom of origin, ranging from ~280 eV (C) to 2.1 keV (S). Given these low energies, Auger electrons only escape from the surface of a sample.
The Auger effect forms the basis of Auger spectroscopy.
Related category• ATOMIC AND NUCLEAR PHYSICS
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