Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) is an experimental technique used in condensed matter physics to probe the allowed energies and momenta of the electrons in a material, usually a crystalline solid. It is based on the photoelectric effect, in which an incoming photon of sufficient energy ejects an electron from the surface of a material. By directly measuring the kinetic energy and emission angle distributions of the emitted photoelectrons, the technique can map the electronic band structure and Fermi surfaces. ARPES is best suited for the study of one- or two-dimensional materials. It has been used by physicists to investigate high-temperature superconductors, graphene, topological materials, quantum well states, and materials exhibiting charge density waves.
ARPES systems consist of a monochromatic light source to deliver a narrow beam of photons, a sample holder connected to a manipulator used to position the sample of a material, and an electron spectrometer. The equipment is contained within an ultra-high vacuum (UHV) environment, which protects the sample and prevents scattering of the emitted electrons. After being dispersed along two perpendicular directions with respect to kinetic energy and emission angle, the electrons are directed to a detector and counted to provide ARPES spectra—slices of the band structure along one momentum direction. Some ARPES instruments can extract a portion of the electrons alongside the detector to measure the polarization of their spin.