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Surface Analysis

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Analyse the chemical composition of surface layers

Why do you need to perform surface analysis on metal?

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Ensuring a surface is free from contaminants is extremely important in guaranteeing that materials such as steel meet their desired performance specifications. Surface contamination of steel happens due to manufacturing or process failures and can cause problems such as adhesion failure and contact bonding issues with the finished steel components.

The outermost part of a material, its surface, is an extremely sensitive part which bears the surface characteristics such as chemical activity, adhesion, wetness, electrical properties, optical properties, corrosion-resistance, friction, and biocompatibility of the material, and it is also a part that is prone to losing such characteristics by degradation and contamination of the environment, adhesion of process residues, etc.

Surface Analysis

Surface analysis techniques are routinely applied to a broad range of materials, such as aluminium and stainless steel, during and after the manufacturing process. Surface analysis is mainly test on metal surface and surface-related macroscopic and microscopic structure. In order to examine a solid surface, the surface must first be stimulated to examine the signals that appear. Light, x-rays, and electrons are used for surface stimulation.

Among the various signals that appear as a result of such surface stimulation, particles such as electrons and ions that are only given off by the surface are observed, and their properties are analysed to reveal the chemical structure of the surface.

Our expert testing team is experienced in the 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.

Type of surface analysis

The main types of surface analysis include XPS, TOF-SIMS, and AES.

1) X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)

It is a technique in which x-rays are irradiated to analyze the energy of photoelectrons generated by the photoelectric effect. This technique is used to identify and quantify the elements present on a surface and their chemical state. XPS works by irradiating the surface of a material with x-rays and detecting the electrons that are ejected from the surface.

This technique analyse surface compositions and chemical-bonding states. Its analysis area is limited to several microns at most, but it can be used for the surface analysis of various materials regardless of whether they are organic or inorganic.

It is a fundamental characterization tool for investigating a wide range of surface problems on metal and oxide surfaces, and the ideal tool for measuring composition and thickness of protective oxide films on metals.

 

2) Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (TOF-SIMS)

Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) is a testing technique for high sensitivity surface analysis. High-speed ions are irradiated to analyse secondary ions emitted from the surface. It is characterized by an extremely high surface sensitivity, its ability to obtain organic compound molecular mass information, and to perform high sensitivity inorganic element analysis.

The monitoring of organic contaminants becomes more and more important for the semiconductor industry. TOF-SIMS provides detailed inorganic and organic information about the wafer surface. In the past, it was mostly used for surface metallic contamination and organic material analyses for semiconductors and display materials, while more recently it has been used for the analysis of organic matter distribution and segregation on organic material surfaces.

 

3) Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES)

Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) is a method of emission spectroscopy that excites atoms and ions with a plasma, causing it to emit electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths characteristic of a particular element.

It is an analytical technique used for the detection of chemical elements by applying emission spectroscopy, which uses inductively coupled plasma to produce excited atoms and ions that emit electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths characteristic of a particular element. Electron beams are irradiated on samples and the generated Auger electrons are observed to perform qualitative/quantitative analysis of the surface.

Since the primary excitation line with ICP-AES is electrons, it can function as an electron scanning microscope. Additionally, it is characterized by extremely high spatial resolution compared to other surface analysis methods. ICP-AES demonstrates its strength mainly in the observation of metal and semiconductor surfaces and micro-level foreign substances on surfaces.

Talk to us today

Our 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. Our expert testing team can drive insight into microscopic features and microstructures to Nano-scale dimensions of your products and samples. For more information on our Surface Analysis, call us or send us an enquiry today.

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