Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The Backscattering Factor in Auger-Electron Spectroscopy: New Approach for an Old Subject



Aleksander Jablonski, Cedric J. Powell


We describe an algorithm for the calculation of backscattering factors in Auger-electron spectroscopy that, unlike most previous analyses, is not based on the assumption of the probability of inner-shell ionization being independent of depth. Illustrative BF results are presented for four Auger transitions (Si KL23L23, Cu L3M45M45, Ag M5N45N45, and Au M5N67N67 in the corresponding elemental solids) with primary-electron energies between 0.5 keV and 10 keV, normal incidence of the primary electrons, and Auger electrons emitted at angles between 10o and 80o with respect to the surface normal. Our calculated backscattering factors agree with values obtained from an empirical formula of Shimizu [Japanese J. Appl. Phys. 22 (1983) 1631] to better than 4 % for the Si KL23L23 transition and better than 11 % for the other three transitions. This degree of agreement is considered satisfactory on account of simplifications in the Shimizu analysis and the fact that data of higher accuracy are now available for needed parameters. We find that the backscattering factor varies with Auger-electron emission angle. This variation can be up to 6.7 % for primary-energies between 3 keV and 10 keV.
Surface Science


Auger electron spectroscopy, backscattering factor, copper, gold, silicon, silver


Jablonski, A. and Powell, C. (2005), The Backscattering Factor in Auger-Electron Spectroscopy: New Approach for an Old Subject, Surface Science (Accessed May 30, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created December 31, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021