Surface Characterisation

  • Ben Spencer (Platform Lead),
  • Marek Nikiel (Technical Specialist),
  • Sadia Sheraz (Technical Specialist),
  • Kexue Li (Technical Specialist),
  • Liam Dwyer (Technical Specialist),
  • Sarah Wall (Technical Specialist),
  • Will Williams (Technical Specialist),
  • Andrew Forrest (Senior Technician),
  • James Fong (Senior Technician),
  • Tomasz Filip (Technician) &
  • Katie Moore (Academic lead)

Facility/equipment: Platform



    The Surface Characterisation platform in the Faculty of Science and Engineering includes a range of surface analysis techniques and supportive instruments. The platform is managed by 11 specialists and technicians, across three research institutes: Henry Royce Institute, Photon Science Institute, and the National Graphene Institute. We support a wide range of advanced materials and interdisciplinary research activity across the faculty, to external universities, and we also provide analysis for industry. 

    X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy probes the elemental and chemical state of atoms at the surface. We have specialist versions including near-ambient pressure (XPS in the presence of gases) and hard X-ray PES (probing deeper into the surface). 

    Secondary ion mass spectrometry
    measures material composition (from atoms and isotopes up to larger molecules) and can depth profile into the surface. We have time-of-flight and high-resolution SIMS (NanoSIMS).

    Atomic Force Microscopy
    studies the surface topology and properties from the microscale down to the atomic level, beyond the optical diffraction limit. Various instruments offer additional modes to study electrical, magnetic, and mechanical properties.

    These facilities are supported by laser confocal microscopy and white light interferometry. In addition, we have a suite of infrared-coupled AFM (NanoIR) including an IR scattering scanning near-field optical microscope (s-SNOM).

    measures the nanomechanical properties from the softest biogel to the hardest ceramic coatings. The platform is supported by a variety of sample preparation facilities.


    • QC Physics
    • QD Chemistry
    • Q Science (General)
    • Advanced materials
    • Surface analysis


    Explore the research areas in which this equipment has been used. These labels are generated based on the related outputs. Together they form a unique fingerprint.