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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Jan 21;106(3):037401. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Total-reflection inelastic X-ray scattering from a 10-nm thick La0.6Sr0.4CoO3 thin film.

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  • 1Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA. fister@anl.gov


To study equilibrium changes in composition, valence, and electronic structure near the surface and into the bulk, we demonstrate the use of a new approach, total-reflection inelastic x-ray scattering, as a sub-keV spectroscopy capable of depth profiling chemical changes in thin films with nanometer resolution. By comparing data acquired under total x-ray reflection and penetrating conditions, we are able to separate the O K-edge spectra from a 10 nm La0.6Sr0.4CoO3 thin film from that of the underlying SrTiO3 substrate. With a smaller wavelength probe than comparable soft x-ray absorption measurements, we also describe the ability to easily access dipole-forbidden final states, using the dramatic evolution of the La N4,5 edge with momentum transfer as an example.

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