Surface Analysis Laboratory Techniques

Surface analysis expertise and insight from our experts

Surface analysis expertise from world-class Intertek scientists is available on a global basis. Client samples are easily transported to the appropriate Intertek laboratory for surface analysis projects. Applications include research and development support, failure analysis, troubleshooting, and quality control. 

Surface analysis laboratory techniques and capabilties:  

Optical Light Microscopy:

  • Optical light microscopes employ the visible or near-visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Applications include use in the life sciences, metallurgy and electronic industries.

SEM Scanning Electron Microscopy:

  • The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) analyses the surface of solid objects, producing images of higher resolution than optical microscopy. SEM produces representations of three-dimensional samples from a diverse range of materials. Techniques include cathode-luminescence and back-scattering for surface, contrast and elemental analysis.

SEM Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis:

  • Scanning Electron Microscopy + Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (SEM/EDXA) provides analysis of small particles by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA), possible without destruction or injury to the sample. SEM/EDXA provides qualitative elemental analysis and element localization on samples being analysed.

    TEM Transmission Electron Microscopy:

    • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) is used for ultra structural characterisation of a wide range of samples. Applications include morphology, crystallographic and compositional information, including Biological TEM applications.

    AES Auger Electron Spectroscopy:

    • Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) is a able to determine composition of the top few layers of a surface. AES is sensitive to low atomic number elements and all elements save hydrogen and helium.

    XRD X-Ray Diffraction:

    • X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) is used for characterizing materials. The technique is used to studying powdery particles, particles in liquid suspensions or polycrystalline solids, including bulk or thin film materials.

    AFM Atomic Force Microscopy:

    • Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) studies surface topology and physical properties on a nano-metre scale. Surface imaging is to near atomic resolution, measuring atomic level forces at the sample surface. Van der Waals, electrostatic, capillary, magnetic and ionic forces produce topographical images of the sample.

    SPM Scanning Probe Microscopy:

    • Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) measures weak electrical current flowing between the probe tip and sample as they are separated at a distance.

    Vertical Scanning, Phase Shifting Interferometry:

    • Vertical scanning interferometry (VSI) is a non-invasive technique used to quantify surface topography of solids such as metals, ceramics, minerals, glasses with high precision.
     
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