Application Areas

2D & Nanomaterials

Materials with structure in the 1 - 100nm scale often have unique elctronic, optical and mechanical properties.


Adhesion is defined as the tendency of dissimilar particles or surfaces to stick to one another where as cohesion is the trendency of similar or identical particles/surfaces to cling to one another.  Surfaces can be critical to the process of both adhesion and cohesion and this is where XPS can be used to provide valuable chemical state information leading to better understanding of these processes.

Batteries & power storage

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is ideally suited to provide information relating to interfacial material properties that are critical to the performance of modern batteries.  It can give insights into chemical composition, elemental or chemical distribution of species, defect sites or functional groups.  Importantly, AXIS spectrometers allow studies of these materials to be extended to in-situ and in-operando characterisation of model devices.


Biomaterials are those which interact with the native-tissue, organ or function in a body and have recently attracted a lot of attention due to the potential applications in replacing major components and systems in a living organism.


Natural fibres extracted from wood provide a renewable resource of raw material. At present, wood fibres are used to a large extent for paper-based products, but the potential for alternative uses in future products should not be disregarded. The functional properties of the end product depend on the structure and chemical properties of the fibres, which are largely determined by the composition.  XPS is ideally suited to determination of the surface properties of wood, wood fibres and related bio-polymer samples.

Coatings & Thin Film

Surface coatings and thin films are of great commercial importance in many industries and are used to enhance or provide required properties to bulk materials specific to their applications. Thin films and multilayer materials find application in areas as diverse as architectural glazing, anti-reflective optical coatings and drug eluting thin films in the pharmaceutical industry. XPS is ideally suited to characterising the surface chemistry of these thin films and when combined with sputter depth profiling can be used to determine the elemental and chemical composition as a function of depth through the film.

Ionic Liquids

Recently ionic liquids have attracted the attention of a growing number of surface scientists interested in exploring the interactions at the both the liquid/gas and liquid/solid interfaces.


The surface properties of polymer materials are often vital in determining performance of the polymer for the specific application.  X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy is ideally suited to the surface characterisation of this class of materials.


Spectromicroscopy, also referred to as spectra from images, provides the ability to generate quantitative XPS data from a series of images with the unique advantage that spectra may be generated from areas as small as a single pixel. This type of sample analysis is only possible due to the combination of high lateral imaging and very good energy resolution with the pulse counting, two-dimensional delay-line detector (DLD).

Using high energy excitation sources

The use of high energy X-ray sources gives rise to the acronym hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, HAXPES.  By changing the anode material to silver, Ag Lα X-rays can be used to excite photoelectrons.  The photon energy of Ag Lα is 2984.3 eV, approximately twice that of Al Kα (1486.6 eV).  A significant advantage of this is the ability to use the same monochromator mirror for both photon energies, using second order diffraction of the same quartz crystals.  The higher photon energy of Ag Lα  allows the excitation of additional, higher binding energy core lines and the possibility of analysis deeper from the surface due to the increased escape depth of higer kinetic energy photoelectrons.