Electron inelastic mean free paths versus attenuation lengths in solids

Yung-Fu Chen*, C. M. Kwei, C. J. Tung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The electron inelastic mean free path is of basic importance in theoretical and applied radiation physics and surface physics. It can be calculated using the dielectric function for the valence band and atomic generalized oscillator strengths for inner shells of a solid. Although the experimentally determined attenuation length is conceptually different from the theoretically calculated mean free path, they are frequently used interchangeably in a loosely defined manner. For electrons with energies below a few keV, elastic scattering plays an important role in connecting these two quantities. This work employed elastic scattering cross sections derived using the partial wave expansion method with a solid potential to evaluate the path length distribution of an electron transmitted through a solid film. Both the analytical multiple-scattering formulation and the numerical Monte Carlo simulation have been applied in this investigation. A comparison between electron inelastic mean free paths and attenuation lengths was made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 14 Feb 1992


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