Abstract: X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy can be used to measure the ionization energies of electrons in both valence band and core orbitals. As core vacancies are the initial states for X-ray emission, a knowledge of their energies for all atoms in a mineral enables all the X-ray spectra to be placed on a common energy scale. X-ray spectra are atom specific and are governed by the dipole selection rule. Thus the individual bonding roles of the different atoms are revealed by the fine structure of valence X-ray peaks (i.e. peaks which result from electron transitions between valence band orbitals and core vacancies). The juxtaposition of such spectra enables the composition of the molecular orbitals that make up the chemical bonds of a mineral to be determined.
Examples of this approach to the direct determination of electronic structure are given for silica, forsterite, brucite, and pyrite. Multi-electron effects and developments involving anisotropic X-ray emission from single crystals are also discussed.