Take a look through our frequently asked questions.

As each problem is unique and the analysis required to solve them varies, a total cost for your analysis cannot be given until it has been discussed with our laboratory manager, Dr Steve Hinder.

For those companies that are sponsoring MSc, PhD students or our Engineering Doctorate researchers, discounts are given on the cost of analysis. For significant analysis requiring several days of instrument time a discount may also be applicable.

If you have a particular research problem and would like further information on sponsoring a PhD project contact a member of staff in your area of interest. You can also find further information on becoming a sponsor for our EngD course on the MiNMaT website.

You are welcome to visit the laboratory and discuss your requirements with Prof. John Watts in person, see a demonstration of our equipment or accompany your samples during their analysis. We regularly receive national and international visitors.

Please contact our laboratory manager Dr Steve Hinder to arrange a visit.

Typically analysis is completed within one to two weeks from when the sample is received. However if the results are needed urgently then a rush can be achieved and analysis completed in a few days.

All samples can be returned should you require.

Both X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and auger electron spectroscopy (AES) are considered non-destructive techniques. Sample damage may occur on those sensitive to the high energy x-rays or electron beam.

Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) removes the outer few nanometers of material for analysis but is considered non-destructive for most samples.

If depth profiles are desired, argon or other ion etching is employed; this leads to the removal of several hundred nanometers of material.

The minimum detectable concentration of most elements in both X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and auger electron spectroscopy (AES) is 0.1at. per cent although heavy elements can be detected at lower levels. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) provides a level of detection in the ppm region.

Our maximum sample size is determined by the size of the vacuum gate valves in our equipment. For XPS and SIMS this is 5x5x2cm and for AES this is 3x3x2cm. A wide range of sample preparation can be carried out on site to ensure a sample is a suitable size for analysis.

The data that is collected is considered to be your property and is confidential. A copy will be sent to you and the original files can either be archived for up to two years or deleted at your request.

As the surface of samples is so easily contaminated, please, while wearing gloves, wrap the samples securely in fresh aluminium foil and then place in ziplock sample bags. Samples should be clearly labelled individually with a number or other reference if they are sent in a batch.

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University of Surrey