Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Rudy Schlaf


Conduction Band Minimum, Isochromat Mode, Photon Detection, Transfer Gap Analysis, Unoccupied Electron States


Inverse photoemission spectroscopy (IPES) is utilized for determining the unoccupied electron states of materials. It is a complementary technique to the widely used photoemission spectroscopy (PES) as it analyzes what PES cannot, the states above the Fermi energy. This method is essential to investigating the structure of a solid and its states. IPES has a broad range of uses and is only recently being utilized.

This thesis describes the setup, calibration and operation of an IPES experiment. The IPES setup consists of an electron gun which emits electrons towards a sample, where photons are released, which are measured in isochromat mode via a photon detector of a set energy bandwidth. By varying the electron energy at the source, a spectrum of the unoccupied density of states can be obtained. Since IPES is not commonly commercially available the design consists of many custom made components. The photon detector operates as a bandpass filter with a mixture of acetone/argon and a CaF2 window setting the cutoff energies. The counter electronics consist of a pre-amplifier, amplifier and analyzer to detect the count rate at each energy level above the Fermi energy.

Along with designing the hardware components, a Labview program was written to capture and log the data for further analysis. The software features several operating modes including automated scanning which allows the user to enter the desired scan parameters and the program will scan the sample accordingly. Also implemented in the program is the control of various external components such as the electron gun and high voltage power supply.

The new setup was tested for different gas mixtures and an optimum ratio was determined. Subsequently, IPES scans of several sample materials were performed for testing and optimization. A scan of Au was utilized for the determination of the Fermi edge energy and for comparison to literature spectra. The Fermi edge energy was then used in a measurement of indium tin oxide (ITO) determining the conduction band onset. This allowed the determination of the "transfer gap" of ITO. Future experiments will allow further application of IPES on materials and interfaces where characterization of their electronic structure is desired.