Resonance-enhanced x-rays in thin films: a structure probe for membranes and surface layers

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Science  30 Oct 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5083, pp. 775-778
DOI: 10.1126/science.1439784


An x-ray resonance effect in an organic thin film on an x-ray reflecting mirror is reported. The resonance effect is the result of interference between reflected and refracted x-rays at the air-organic thin film interface and occurs at incident angles slightly above the critical angle of the film. In excellent agreement with theory, the primary resonant x-ray electric field that is confined in the organic thin film is approximately 20 times as intense as the electric field of the incident beam when measured at a position close to the center of the film. Resonance-enhanced x-rays can be used to characterize the internal structure of Langmuir-Blodgett thin film membranes. This effect may also find use in x-ray-based thin film devices and in the structural analysis of adlayers and surfaces that have thus far proved difficult, if not impossible, to study because of sensitivity limitations.