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Platinum is one of the most common coatings used to optimize mirror reflectivity in soft X-ray beamlines. Normal operation results in optics contamination by carbon-based molecules present in the residual vacuum of the beamlines. The reflectivity reduction induced by a carbon layer at the mirror surface is a major problem in synchrotron radiation sources. A time-dependent photoelectron spectroscopy study of the chemical reactions which take place at the Pt(111) surface under operating conditions is presented. It is shown that the carbon contamination layer growth can be stopped and reversed by low partial pressures of oxygen for optics operated in intense photon beams at liquid-nitrogen temperature. For mirrors operated at room temperature the carbon contamination observed for equivalent partial pressures of CO is reduced and the effects of oxygen are observed on a long time scale.

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