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Surface Analysis

Surface analysis instrument

We offer a range of surface analysis techniques that can be used across a wide variety of sample types, including biomolecules, hard materials and thin films. Please contact Claire Gerard ( ) if you are looking for a technique that is not listed here and we would be happy to discuss your requirements in more detail.

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)

XPS is a technique used to obtain chemical information about the surfaces of solid materials. Both the composition and chemical state of surface constituents can be determined by XPS.

Ultraviolet Photoelectron Spectroscopy (UPS)

UPS can be used to obtain information about the electronic structure of conductive or semiconductive surfaces by measuring the kinetic energy of molecules that have absorbed ultraviolent photons.

Raman Spectroscopy

Raman spectroscopy measures inelastic scattered light from a sample, giving insight into the structural properties of a material. Combining Raman spectroscopy with a microscope allows a precise point on the surface of a sample to be selected for analysis.


Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionisation (MALDI) mass spectrometry is an ionisation technique that can be used to analyse biomolecules and large organic molecules from surfaces of samples.

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS)

SIMS is used to analyse the composition of solid surfaces and thin films by sputtering the surface of a sample with a focused primary ion beam and analysing ejected secondary ions.

BET analysis

This technique uses gas adsorption to measure surface areas and porosity of solid materials. This gives information such as the area of solid surface available for catalysis processes or the volume of gas a solid can contain (e.g. in CO2capture).

Scanning Electron Microscopy

Our Electron Microscopy Facility houses three Scanning Electron Microscopes that can image surfaces with a wide range of magnifications and resolutions at nanometre scale.

Atomic Force Microscopy

The Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs) in our Electron Microscopy facility can be used to obtain high-resolution images showing topography, surface adhesion and electronic properties of a wide variety of sample types.

Metrology Laboratory

The Metrology Laboratory is equipped with a suite of precision instruments for surface characterisation, including a 3D optical microscope, surface profiler, AFM and nano-hardness and tensile testers.