Analytical Microscopy and Spectroscopy


General informations

TASC laboratory, Trieste, Italy
Main techniques and methods
X-ray Photoemission Spectroscopy (XPS), Ultraviolet Photoemission Spectroscopy (UPS), Low Energy Electron Diffraction (LEED)
Key instumentation
- Hemispherical electron energy analyzer (PSP);
- X-ray source (Leybold) and UV source;
- CVD, PECVD reactor, supersonic cluster beam source (AMPHIRO, transportable, now located at Fermi-Gas Phase).

INSPECT is a laboratory studying the electronic structures and growth mechanisms of thin films, focusing on carbon-based materials and their hybrids

Technical description

The laboratory consists of an ultra high vacuum (UHV) experimental apparatus (base pressure    1x10-10 mbar), equipped with instrumentation devoted to the growth and to the study of the chemical composition, electronic structure and atomic arrangement of surfaces and thin films. The experimental techniques include ultra-violet and X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (UPS and XPS, respectively), Auger electron spectroscopy, and low energy electron diffraction (LEED). The thin film growth instrumentations include several UHV evaporators for molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), many gas lines available for chemical vapour deposition (CVD), one plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) reactor and a transportable supersonic cluster beam source (SCBS), now located at Fermi-Gas Phase (AMPHIRO). All the above systems are directly connected with the UHV chamber, enabling the in-situ study via electron spectroscopy just after the growth of the samples, avoiding any possible contribution due to atmospheric contamination. A sizeable part of the work is also performed via access to international synchrotron radiation facilities.

Research Activity

The research work is mainly dedicated to the study of the electronic structures and of the growth mechanisms of thin films, mainly focusing on carbon-based materials (SWCNT, MWCNT, CNF, graphene, doped-graphene) and their hybrids (metals, metal-oxide, organic molecules).

The growth processes are done in ultra-high vacuum base-conditions, and include chemical vapour deposition (CVD), molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and supersonic cluster source (SCBS) deposition. The obtained materials are studied using in-situ spectroscopic techniques, like XPS, UPS and LEED, also during the growth process, with the objective to find the best protocols allowing the controlled synthesis of a priori defined nanostructures, suitable for technological applications. The electronic structure of the grown materials and their reactivity to selected gasses are characterized via electron spectroscopies, for their possible use in, for example, sensors, catalysis.

The results are typically complemented by microscopy, electron spectroscopy measurements and DFT calculations, both performed through external collaborations, inside and outside IOM.

Part of the work is devoted to the spectroscopic characterization via UPS, XPS of samples grown by other groups.


  • PRIN 2017, MADAM, 2019-2022

Main collaborations

  • University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
  • Catholic University, Brescia, Italy
  • University of Groningen, Netherlands
  • Cambridge University, United Kingdom
  • Zululand University, Vulindlela, South Africa