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The University of Surrey MicroStructural Studies Unit (MSSU), the electron microscopy facility of the University of Surrey, was established in 1970 to support a wide range of research activities across the University and to offer electron microscopy services to industry.

After 40 years of continuous development, we employ experienced microscopists and house a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art instruments such as, transmission electron microscopes (TEM), scanning electron microscopes (SEM) and sample preparation equipment.

Surface analysis techniques can be used to solve problems in a huge range of areas, some of which are listed below.

  • Adhesive failure analysis/delamination
  • Identification of surface contamination
  • Assessment of cleaning procedures
  • Elemental composition – bulk and surface
  • Chemical state information
  • Material identification and verification
  • Micro or nano particle analysis
  • Thin film analysis
  • Metal passivation and corrosion
  • Grain boundary segregation in metals
  • Surface segregation
  • Protective coatings and paints
  • Identification of stains and discolorations
  • Polymer surface functionality before and after various treatments
  • Oxide film thickness
  • Surface ultra-thin film thickness
  • Depth profiles of thin film components
  • Defect identification
  • Molecular identification of lubricants, additives, and contaminants
  • Catalysis.

Are the techniques destructive?

SEM, EDS,WDS and EBSD are potentially non destructive techniques, however TEM/STEM requires advanced sample preparation resulting in a significant change to the sample.

Minimum detectable concentration of an element

The minimum detectable concentration of most elements in EDS and WDS varies with the atomic number of the element and the nature of the material it is in.

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