Hydroxyapatite and lead-substituted hydroxyapatite near-surface structures: Novel modelling of photoemission lines from X-ray photoelectron spectra

Elvis O. López*, Pablo L. Bernardo, Noemi R. Checca, André L. Rossi, Alexandre Mello, Donald E. Ellis, Alexandre M. Rossi, Joice Terra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is one of the main tools for hydroxyapatite (HA) surface characterization in developing materials for biomedical and heterogeneous catalysis. Despite the XPS technique's potential to correlate binding energies with existing photo-emitter sites on near-surfaces, few previous studies analyzed this aspect for HA and metal-substituted HA surfaces. In this work, we theoretically reconstructed the XPS spectra of stoichiometric HA and lead-substituted hydroxyapatite (PbCaHA, Ca10-xPbx(PO4)6(OH)2; x = 2, 10) using a first-principles linear combination of atomic orbitals embedded cluster approach and periodic supercell band structures within the framework of Density Functional Theory (DFT). We take into account photoemission lines contributions from Ca(1), Ca(2), Pb(1) and Pb(2) sites located on surface and near-surface depths (up to ∼15 Å) along the (0 0 1) and (1 0 0) surfaces. The calculated DFT spectra of HA and PbCaHA were compared with high-resolution XPS spectra previously characterized by synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transforms infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS). A combined theoretical and experimental approach enables decoding of the complex structure of HA and PbCaHA in XPS spectra. It was found that XPS binding energies profiles depend significantly on photo-emitters from near-surface sites and surface crystallographic orientation. The main Ca 2p3/2 envelope peak in HA is predominantly from Ca(1) and Ca(2) sites (∼347.4 eV), while the weaker peak is due to the Ca(2) site only (∼345.0 eV). Variations on HA nanoparticle morphology could be a critical factor for changes in XPS binding energies' profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number151310
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Density functional theory (DFT)
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Hydroxylpyromorphite
  • Surface spectroscopy
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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