ion scattering spectroscopy (rus. спектроскопия ионного рассеяния abbr., ISS) — a set of methods to study solid bodies based on analysis of ions elastically scattered by the studied sample.


Depending on ions' energy, ion scattering spectroscopy divides into:

• low-energy ion spectroscopy (1-20 keV);

• medium-energy ion spectroscopy (20-200 keV);

• high-energy ion spectroscopy or Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy (200 keV-2 MeV).

Low-energy ion spectroscopy (which is often designated by the general term "ion scattering spectroscopy") is used to study the structure and composition of surfaces because low-energy ions do not penetrate to a depth of more than a few atomic layers.

Medium-energy ion spectroscopy and Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy are based on the fact that high-energy ions can penetrate deep into the sample due to the small scattering cross-section. Both methods facilitate the investigation of the samples' structure and composition as a function of the penetration depth. The difference between them is that Rutherford backscattering ensures greater penetration depth but lower resolution, while the medium-energy ion spectroscopy, to the contrary, has a shallower depth but better resolution.

When the primary ion beam is oriented along the main directions in the crystal these methods are sensitive to the surface; in this case the effect of the volume is minimised due to the channeling effect (for details see the "Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy" article).


  • Zotov Andrey V.
  • Saranin Alexander A.


  1. Oura K. et al. Surface Science: An Introduction // Springer, 2010 - 452 pp.

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