Auger electron

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Auger emission (pronounced Oh-zhay) is a phenomenon in physics in which the emission of an electron from an atom causes the emission of a second electron. This second ejected electron is called an Auger electron.

When an electron is removed from a core level of an atom, leaving a vacancy, an electron from a higher energy level may fall into the vacancy, resulting in a release of energy. Although sometimes this energy is released in the form of an emitted photon, the energy can also be tranfered to another electron, which is then ejected from the atom.

Upon ejection the kinetic energy of the Auger electron corresponds to the difference between the energy of the initial electronic transition and the ionization energy for the shell from which the Auger electron was ejected. These energy levels depend on the type of atom and the chemical environment in which the atom was located. Auger electron spectroscopy stimulates the emission of Auger electrons by bombarding a sample with either X-rays or energetic electrons and measures the intensity of Auger electrons as a function of the Auger electron energy. The resulting spectra can be used to determine the identity of the emitting atoms and some information about their environment.


The Auger emission process was discovered in the 1920s by Lise Meitner, an Austrian physicist. Subsequently Pierre Victor Auger, a French Physicist, also discovered the process. Auger reported the discovery in the journal Radium in 1925 and it was Auger that had the process named after him.

fr:Électron Auger