Surface analysis expertise to drive understanding of the microstructural characteristics and surface properties of a wide range of materials and sample types

Surface analysis and structural materials analysis can drive understanding of the microstructural characterisation of materials. The microstructure or surface properties of a material is typically influenced by its chemical composition and production or processing route and these properties can impact the chemical, physical and mechanical properties and hence its function and performance in the intended application or formulation.

Intertek's surface analysis expertise includes particle analysis and identification, such as the elemental analysis of solid samples, detection of impurities and identification of physical and chemical defects. Surface sensitive analyses also includes thin film analysis, depth profiling, penetration studies, and cleanliness studies. Our global network of surface science laboratories provides analytical expertise to support research, forensic, troubleshooting, quality control and more. Our surface analysis teams are experienced in measurement across a wide range of sample types including polymers, films, coatings, geological and mineral samples, pharmaceuticals, raw materials, metals, plastics, ceramics, glass, food, dust, contaminants and other sample types.

Surface and microstructure analysis:

Optical Microscopy Analysis 
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.

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. We also have Cryo-EM Imaging

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.

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. We also have cryo-TEM.

X-Ray Diffraction Analysis
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.

X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) 
X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) provides quantitative data of the elemental composition on the surface of a material and is used to study the surface chemistry of thin films, residues, and surface pitting.

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.

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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