Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) is an analytical technique used in materials science. Sometimes referred to as high-energy ion scattering (HEIS) spectrometry, RBS is used to determine the structure and composition of materials by measuring the backscattering of a beam of high energy ions impinging on a sample.
The Geiger–Marsden experiment
Rutherford backscattering spectrometry is named after Lord Ernest Rutherford, a physicist sometimes referred to as the father of nuclear physics. Rutherford supervised a series of experiments carried out by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden between 1909 and 1914 studying the scattering of alpha particles through metal foils. While attempting to eliminate "stray particles" they believed to be caused by an imperfection in their alpha source, Rutherford suggested that Marsden attempt to measure backscattering from a gold foil sample. According to the then-dominant plum-pudding model of the atom, in which small negative electrons were spread through a diffuse positive region, backscattering of the high-energy positive alpha particles should have been nonexistent. At most small deflections should occur as the alpha particles passed almost unhindered through the foil. Instead, when Marsden positioned the detector on the same side of the foil as the alpha particle source, he immediately detected a noticeable backscattered signal. According to Rutherford, "It was quite the most incredible event that has ever... Read More