Analytical, Materials and Sensors Science Facilities

Key facilities

The Department of Applied Sciences has a VG Scientific ESCALAB MkII surface analysis instrument that can be used to:

  • Determine the elemental composition of the surface of a solid sample.
  • Discover chemical state information about a surface.
  • Build a profile of how the composition of a sample changes with depth.

Sample format

The sample is placed under ultra-high vacuum, so it must be solid and non-volatile. The physical limitations of the machine require samples to be around 2cm diameter or less. Powdered samples can be analysed.


XPS is of use in many fields including biological, environmental, chemical, physical and polymer sciences. Because the technique is very surface sensitive, it is particularly useful for the study of adhesion (including biofouling of polymer coatings), corrosion, pollution, adsorption and vapour sensors, although it is not confined solely to these areas.

Examples of materials studied include: metals, metal oxides, polymers, ceramics, rubber, enamel, sediments, glasses, wood and cloth.

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