Thin Film Characterisation Tools


Course Trainer 
Reza Valizadeh

Saturday 15 June 2024 (1/2-day course)
2pm to 5pm

Crowne Plaza, Harrogate

Cost: £60pp (included in the fee: access to the course and tea/coffee refreshments)

Book online


The purpose of the lecture is to introduce the general methods and overview applications for some of the most important tools for characterisation of thin films and surfaces.

Course description:

The type or types of information required determines the characterisation methods needed to investigate a coating or film. The course will provide overall information on numerous analysis techniques and provides understanding as which types of information can be obtained by different methods and their sensitivity. It explains how each technique works and what is strength and limitation. In general, the methods can be categorised in terms the probing beam such as incident photons, incident ions or finally incident electrons. The lecture will focus on two methods of ion beam and X-ray. It will give information on the hardware required for each method and data processing to extract the relevant information form collected data. The methods can be further subdivide to surface and bulk analysis.

Course content:

Surface characterisation: 

  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) where the information is from the top 10 nm and provides chemical information and surface composition.

Film bulk characterization: 

  • Rutherford backscattering where the information is from depth down several 100 nm and provides composition and stoichiometry information.
  • Secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) where provide information about film and layers composition, impurity diffusion and the structure at the interface. It has extremely high detection limits from part per billion (ppb) to parts to million (ppm) depending on the specific element and samples.

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