Vanadium • Transition Metal

Primary XPS region: V2p
Overlapping regions: O1s
Binding energies of common chemical states:

Chemical stateBinding energy V2p3/2 / eV
V metal512.3
V (II)513.6
V (IV)516.4

V (II) and V (IV) referenced to V2p metal peak. V2O5 referenced to adventitious C1s peak at 284.8eV.

Experimental Information

  • Collect both the V2p and O1s regions together (507eV – 540 eV).
    • It is important to have the V2p/O1s regions together for accurate peak fitting.

Interpretation of XPS spectra

  • When vanadium is present in low concentration (compared to oxygen), look carefully for spin-orbit split peaks to lower binding energy side of O1s peak for identification of vanadium.
  • V metal gives asymmetric peaks shapes in the V2p region.
    • Oxides will have symmetric peak shapes.
  • V2p peak has significantly split spin-orbit components (Δmetal=7.6eV).
    • Splitting Δ-value varies with chemical state (e.g, ΔV2O5=7.4eV).
    • Typically FWHM for each spin-orbit component is the same, but for V2p the V2p1/2 component is much broader than the V2p3/2 peak.
      • Consequently, V2p1/2 peak is much shorter than expected.
  • When oxygen is present on the sample surface, the V2p and O1s regions should be fitted together, using a single Shirley or Smart background across both regions.
    • If this procedure is not followed, the relative intensities of the V2p3/2 and V2p1/2 will be significantly different to the expected ~2:1 ratio.


[1] MC Biesinger et al., Applied Surface Science 257 (2010) 887-898.

crystal structureAbout This Element

Symbol: V
Date of Discovery: 1830
Name Origin: Scandinavian vanadis
Appearance: silverish
Discoverer: Nils Sefström
Obtained From: patronite, vanadinite

Melting Point: 2163 K
Boiling Point: 3653 K
Density[kg/m3]: 6110
Molar Volume: 8.32 × 10-6 m3/mol
Protons/Electrons: 23
Neutrons: 28
Shell Structure: 2,8,11,2
Electron Configuration: [Ar]3d34s2
Oxidation State: 5,3
Crystal Structure: body centered cubic

In 1830, N. Sefström discovered vanadium in some iron ores. Vanadium is a white metal that possesses good resistance to corrosion by alkalis, and sulphuric and hydrochloric acid. Vanadium occurs in approximately sixty-five different minerals and in carbon deposits such as crude oil, coal, oil shale and tar sands, but is never found unbound in nature. Because vanadium has substantial component strength, low fission neutron cross section, and oxidizes freely at about 933 K, it is a useful component in nuclear applications. Vanadium’s main application is used as ferrovanadium or as a steel supplement. Vanadium is also manufactured in steel alloys such as stainless steel instruments and tools, electrical fuel cells and storage batteries, and is mixed with aluminum in titanium alloys for aircrafts.

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