This paper presents a comprehensive study of various applications of x-ray fluorescence and diffraction techniques for the characterization of thin films. With the proper use of x-ray instruments and techniques, a fairly complete understanding of the chemical and physical structure of thin films was obtained. The x-ray fluorescence (XRF) method was used for the determination of composition, mass-thickness, and density. The x-ray diffraction (XRD) method was used for structural characterization, including: local atomic arrangements of amorphous materials; phase identification, preferred orientation, crystallite size, stacking faults, microstrain, the annealing behaviors of polycrystalline films; and lattice mismatch between the epitaxial film and its single-crystal substrate.
In order to obtain a clear picture of the capabilities of the x-ray method and the properties of thin films, a series of carefully selected specimens representing a wide range of compositions and thicknesses was used. A number of practical x-ray techniques, which are valuable for this type of analysis, are also introduced.