This technology platform has been created to gather the techniques used for characterising the surface of materials and bio-materials.
XPS-ESCA and ToF-SIMS constitute the nucleus of this platform.
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS-ESCA)
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS - ESCA) was developed in the mid 1960s by the K. Siegbahn group (University of Uppsalla, Sweden). The first Belgian XPS system was installed in our laboratory beginning 1970s.
A sample, introduced in an ultra high vacuum chamber, is bombarded with an X-ray beam. The kinetic energy (in electron volts, eV) of emitted electrons of all elements (except H and He) present at the surface (analyzed depth between 1 and 10 nm) is measured with a precision of about 0.2 eV.
Shape and position of peaks depend on the chemical state of the element (the so-called " chemical shift " effect).
Area of peaks used in combination with sensitivity factors allow to calculate mole fractions with a detection limit of a few tenths of percent. A detailed analysis of certain well-resolved peaks allows quantifying functionalities present at the surface.
On most recent systems the minimum spatial resolution is of about 15 µm and 5 µm for XPS analysis and XPS imaging respectively. In most cases XPS can be considered as a non-destructive technique.
XPS can be used to characterize the surface of all types of materials, quite exclusively solids (powders or bulk specimen): biomaterials, catalysts, ceramics, fibers, glass, metals, minerals, polymers... The laboratories sharing the XPS facilities of the Surface Characterisation platform have an uncommon expertise in using the method.
- SSX 100/206 spectrometer from Surface Science Instruments (USA): monochromatized and microfocused AlKα X-ray beam, parking chamber, automatic sample analysis.
- Kratos Axis Ultra spectrometer from Kratos Analytical (UK): monochromatized AlKα X-ray beam, Al/Mg non monochromatized twin anode, XPS imaging, catalyst cell (maximum 800°C), sample cooling (~160°C) in both introduction and analysis chamber, ion gun, parking chamber, automatic sample analysis.
Our XPS systems are accessible to academic and industrial research teams. For more information please contact Pierre Eloy
Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS)
Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) is a surface-sensitive analytical method that uses a pulsed beam of primary ion beams (such as Ar+, Cs+, O2+, C60+, … or microfocused Ga+, In+, Aun+, Binx+, …) with several kiloelectronvolts of energy to eject and ionise species from the uppermost layers of the sample.
The actual desorption or sputtering of material from the surface is the result of collision cascades or correlated atomic motions in the solid, which are initiated by the primary ion imprinting on the sample surface.
A small fraction of the sputtered material is ionised during the emission process.
The resulting atomic and molecular secondary ions, characteristic of the surface chemistry, are accelerated into a mass spectrometer, where they are mass analysed by measuring their time-of-flight from the sample surface to the detector.
Research teams developing an expertise in these surface characterisation spectroscopies
- Bio and Soft Matter – Surfaces (BSMA) which focuses on the tailoring and characterisation of organic and biological surfaces
- Molecules, Solids and Reactivity (MOST)
- Catalysis and Chemistry of divided materials which focuses on preparation, characterisation and optimization of inorganic solids as heterogeneous catalysts
- Chemistry of inorganic and organic materials which focuses on coordination and organometallic chemistry applied to heterogeneous catalysis and materials science
- Yasmine Adriaensen, BSc (XPS)
- Prof Arnaud Delcorte (President of the management committee)
- Prof Christine Dupont-Gillain
- Pierre Eloy, Eng (XPS)
- Prof Eric Gaigneaux
- Prof Sophie Hermans
- Rose-Anne Jacob (accountant/secretary)
- Claude Poleunis, Eng (ToF-SIMS) in charge of the platform
- One ToF-SIMS users delegate
- One XPS users delegate
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