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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.


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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