Module code: ENGM104

Module Overview

This module is an introduction to the surface chemical analysis of materials by electron spectroscopies (specifically X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Auger electron spectroscopy) and secondary ion mass spectrometry.

Module provider

Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Module Leader

WATTS JF Prof (Mech Eng Sci)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: H100

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The course comprises lectures, laboratory demonstrations and classes with course tutors. Practical
aspects of surface analysis, such as specimen preparation will also be described. Participants with
specific problems concerning the application of electron spectroscopy are given ample opportunity to
consult the lecturers. Although the main thrust of the course is developing expertise in XPS, AES and
SIMS a brief introduction to the less common surface analysis methods is also provided. The lecture
topics are:

 Introduction to Photoelectron and Auger Spectroscopy I: Basic Principles
 Introduction to Photoelectron and Auger Spectroscopy II: Chemical Information
 Introduction to Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
 Instrumentation for Electron Spectroscopy
 Surface Analysis of Polymers: XPS
 SIMS Analysis of Inorganic Systems
 Complementary Analytical Techniques
 Auger and X-Ray mapping
 Sputter Depth Profiling
 Non Destructive Depth Profiling
 Applications I: Corrosion Spectra and Images at High Resolution
 XPS at High Spatial Resolution
 Surface Analysis of Polymers: SIMS
 Applications II: Analysis of Hard Coatings
 Applications III: Adhesion
 Recent Advances in Surface Analysis

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate both a
knowledge across the whole breadth of the module and a deeper cognitive/analytical ability alongside
deeper knowledge in specified areas.

The short questions of the assessment package are able to test knowledge and understanding of a
broad range of topics covered in the module. The 2 longer questions are aimed at assessing the
knowledge of specific chosen topics in electron spectroscopy and surface mass spectrometry and depth of understanding expected at this level.

Summative assessment and formative feedback

 Q1 (4 x short answer) + Q2 (long answer question) [Learning outcomes 1-5] (45 hours) Mon/Tues 2 weeks after end of course {40%}
 Q3 (6 x short answer) + Q4 (long answer question) [Learning outcomes 1-5] (75 hours) Mon/Tues 6 weeks after end of course {60%}
 Formative verbal feedback is given in lectures and tutorials.
 Written feedback is given on the first assessment coursework (Q1 & Q2), which is  submitted in advance of the final summative assessment.


Module aims

  • provide a comprehensive understanding of X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, Scanning Auger  Microscopy and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
  • impart systematic knowledge on the theory underlying these techniques and current practices in the analysis of surfaces
  • familiarise students with the state-of-the-art equipment
  • provide students with sufficient knowledge that they can decide upon which methods are most appropriate for a range of different materials applications.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the theory and practice of the surface analytical techniques of XPS, Auger and SIMS KC
002 Appreciate the scope and limitations of each technique and be able to decide which techniques are applicable in given circumstances KC
003 Be able to critically assess research in which these techniques have been applied KPT
004 Understand and interpret spectroscopic results KC
005 Explain current issues in surface analysis which are complex, conceptually challenging, and are at, or informed by, the forefront of field KP
006 Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying issues through the appropriate interpretation of assessment questions. KT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 21

Tutorial Hours: 2

Laboratory Hours: 2

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:
Introduce surface analysis fundamentals through theory and practical examples. This is achieved
principally though lectures and laboratory demonstrations.

The learning and teaching methods include:

 Lectures [21 hours]
 Tutorials [2 hours]
 Demonstrations [2 hours]
 Industrial visit [3 hours]
 Coursework [122 hours]

The teaching is delivered as a one-week intensive course.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Other information

Please note this module runs biennially with module ENGM244 - Composite Materials Technology. Students who temporarily withdraw or who are granted extenuating circumstances after attending the intensive week will be issued with a new assessment/s as appropriate.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Advanced Materials MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.