Phosphorus Non-Metals

Primary XPS region: P2p
Overlapping regions: Zn3s, Si2p plasmon
Binding energies of common chemical states:

Chemical stateBinding energy P2p / eV
Metal phosphide~128.5
Metal phosphate~133

Experimental Information

  • P2p peak has closely spaced spin-orbit components (Δ=0.87eV)
    • Effect of spin-orbit splitting can be observed for phosphorus elements and compounds.
    • Apparent resolution of spin-orbit components varies between compounds, e.g., P2p3/2 and P2p1/2 components are clearly visible for some phosphides, but for phosphates, an asymmetric peak envelope from overlapping components is observed.
  • When zinc is present, be careful not to misinterpret Zn3s peak as phosphorus chemical state.

General comments

  • Some phosphides (InP, GaP) are used in III-V semiconductor devices
  • Many glass materials contain P, as phosphate.

About This Element

Symbol: P
Date of Discovery: 1669
Name Origin: Greek phôs and phoros
Appearance: white/red/black
Discoverer: Hennig Brand
Obtained From: phosphate rock

Melting Point: 317 K
Boiling Point: 550 K
Density[kg/m3]: 1823
Molar Volume: 17.02 × 10-6 m3/mol
Protons/Electrons: 15
Neutrons: 16
Shell Structure: 2,8,5
Electron Configuration: [Ne]3s23p3
Oxidation State: ±3,4,5
Crystal Structure: triclinic

Phosphorus was discovered by H. Brand in 1669 by heating concentrated urine, producing a snow-white substance that illuminated in the dark. Named from the Greek origin “phosphoros,” meaning light-bearing, this element is an essential component of living systems and is important in agricultural and industrial applications. Phosphorus exists in several allotropic forms: white, red, and black, each of which is employed in a variety of applications including fertilizers, detergents, and steel production. Pure phosphorus is colorless and transparent, but ordinarily exists as a waxy white solid. Phosphorus does not exist in the environment in its pure form, and is most often found as phosphates.


Application Notes

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