X-ray fluorescence at nanoscale resolution for multicomponent layered structures: A solar cell case study

Bradley M. West, Michael Stuckelberger, April Jeffries, Srikanth Gangam, Barry Lai, Benjamin Stripe, Jörg Maser, Volker Rose, Stefan Vogt, Mariana Bertoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


The study of a multilayered and multicomponent system by spatially resolved X-ray fluorescence microscopy poses unique challenges in achieving accurate quantification of elemental distributions. This is particularly true for the quantification of materials with high X-ray attenuation coefficients, depth-dependent composition variations and thickness variations. A widely applicable procedure for use after spectrum fitting and quantification is described. This procedure corrects the elemental distribution from the measured fluorescence signal, taking into account attenuation of the incident beam and generated fluorescence from multiple layers, and accounts for sample thickness variations. Deriving from Beer-Lambert's law, formulae are presented in a general integral form and numerically applicable framework. The procedure is applied using experimental data from a solar cell with a Cu(In,Ga)Se2 absorber layer, measured at two separate synchrotron beamlines with varied measurement geometries. This example shows the importance of these corrections in real material systems, which can change the interpretation of the measured distributions dramatically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-295
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Synchrotron Radiation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • CIGS
  • multilayered structure
  • solar cell
  • thin film characterization
  • X-ray fluorescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation

Cite this

West, B. M., Stuckelberger, M., Jeffries, A., Gangam, S., Lai, B., Stripe, B., Maser, J., Rose, V., Vogt, S., & Bertoni, M. (2017). X-ray fluorescence at nanoscale resolution for multicomponent layered structures: A solar cell case study. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, 24(1), 288-295. https://doi.org/10.1107/S1600577516015721