Surface Analysis: XPS, Auger and SIMS

This is a one week postgraduate level course, it aims to provide an intensive introduction to the principles of the electron spectroscopic techniques of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA) and auger electron spectroscopy (AES), together with scanning auger microscopy (SAM) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).

Monday 18 - Friday 22 March 2019

About the course

The course will be staffed by lecturers with considerable experience in applied surface analysis, drawn from both the University of Surrey and elsewhere.

Each day will comprise lectures, laboratory demonstrations and classes with the course tutors. Attendees with specific problems concerning the applications of electron spectroscopy will have ample opportunity to consult the lecturers.

The number of registrants will be limited to ensure maximum benefit from both the practical classes and tutorial sessions.

For queries about this course

Jenna Flint,Short Course Administrator

Provisional syllabus

Please note that we reserve the right to alter the syllabus. Any major changes will be notified to delegates before the course starts.

Course overview

Who should attend

The course is for you if you need a thorough grounding in these surface analysis methods, both for "trouble-shooting" investigations and longer term research projects.

As the field of surface analysis continues to develop very rapidly, the course provides an ideal opportunity to review the scope and applicability of such methods for specific applications.

While the course is open to all, a scientific or engineering education to degree level, or a higher education qualification in physics or chemistry is desirable.


This course aims to:

  • Provide a comprehensive understanding of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning auger microscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry
  • Impart systematic knowledge on the theory underlying these techniques and current practices in the analysis of surfaces
  • Familiarise students with the state-of-the-art equipment
  • Provide students with sufficient knowledge that they can decide upon which methods are most appropriate for a range of different materials applications.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course and associated assessment package, students will:

  • Understand the theory and practice of the surface analytical techniques of XPS, Auger and SIMS
  • Appreciate the scope and limitations of each technique and be able to decide which techniques are applicable in given circumstances
  • Be able to critically assess research in which these techniques have been applied
  • Understand and interpret spectroscopic results.

Module content

The course comprises lectures, laboratory demonstrations and classes with course tutors. Practical aspects of surface analysis, such as specimen preparation will also be described.

Participants with specific problems concerning the application of electron spectroscopy are given ample opportunity to consult the lecturers.

Although the main thrust of the course is developing expertise in XPS, AES and SIMS, a brief introduction to the less common surface analysis methods is also provided.

Lecture topics

  • Introduction to photoelectron and auger spectroscopy I: Basic principles
  • Introduction to photoelectron and auger spectroscopy II: Chemical information
  • Introduction to secondary ion mass spectrometry
  • Instrumentation for surface analysis
  • SIMS analysis of inorganic systems
  • Quantitative analysis of surfaces by electron spectroscopy (QUASES)
  • Auger and X-ray mapping
  • Sputter depth profiling
  • Non destructive depth profiling
  • XPS at high spatial resolution
  • Surface analysis of polymers: SIMS
  • Surface analysis of polymers: XPS
  • Applications I: Corrosion phenomena, spectra and images
  • Applications II: Analysis of hard coatings
  • Applications III: Adhesion
  • Recent advances in surface analysis.

Further information


This is a week long course, from Monday 18 - Friday 22 March 2019.


Price per person is £1600.

If you use our 3 for 2 offer and book on three delegates to this course, then the price will be £3200.

How to apply

Payment can be accepted by purchase order, credit card or bank transfer on our online store.

Please note that we do not charge VAT as we are an educational establishment.

Required reading

Along with extensive course notes, the following textbook is supplied:

Required reading:

Watts JF and Wolstenholme J, An Introduction to Surface Ananlysis by XPS and AES, Wiley,2003.  
(ISBN 047084713)

Recommended background reading

Briggs D and Seah MP, Practical Surface Analysis, Vol 1, Wiley, 1997.  (ISBN 04719 20819)
Briggs D and Seah MP, Practical Surface Analysis’, Vol.2, Wiley, 1992.  (ISBN 04719 20827)
Wild RK and Flewitt PEK, Physical Methods for Material Characterization, Institute of Physics Publishing, 2001.  (ISBN 07503 08087)

Course Director

The Course Director is Professor John F Watts.

Surface analysis brochure

(2.1 MB .PDF)


Contact us

Find us

Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences
University of Surrey