A multi-function XPS-UPS system with load-locked advanced sample preparation stages

Lead Research Organisation: University of Ulster
Department Name: Nanotechnology and Adv Materials Inst


This proposal is to support the acquisition of an X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) system with ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS) unit and sample pre-treatment attachments. Key elements make this system a unique state of the art facility with unprecedented analytical capabilities. In addition to high performance XPS chemical analysis, the custom configuration is designed to provide first-time analytical capabilities for inorganic, organic and biological samples processed by atmospheric pressure plasma technologies. The equipment also takes advantage of its geographical location, as it will be the only XPS-based system available in Northern Ireland therefore serving regionally the research community and industrial collaborators. Furthermore it relies on the strengths of the host institution, Ulster University (UU), which brings together internationally recognised expertise in plasma processes, materials processing and characterization together with complementary in-house facilities that will provide important and highly valuable synergies.

Planned Impact

The proposed equipment is a state of the art X-ray/ultra-violet photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS/UPS) suite with a number of additional analytical options and a unique and specialised in-situ sample preparation stage with plasma and liquid processing capability. The suite will be accessible as a regional facility, being the only such system in Northern Ireland (NI), and available for use by academic researchers as well as by industrial users, the latter as a commercial service. The overarching aim is to promote high quality fundamental and applied research, with particular emphasis on the new atmospheric pressure plasma related fields, and to encourage knowledge translation and impact. Access groups will have research projects with impact pathways in place and many will have funded links with industry, clinical practice or knowledge transfer based collaborative research centres.
We intend to achieve impact in the short to medium term through (i) interaction with industry, spin outs and the generation of intellectual property in projects using the equipment resources, (ii) direct collaboration with researchers and users in disciplines such as health, energy and environment leading to societal impact, (iii) training of skilled personnel, exposure of school and university students to XPS/UPS enabled science and on-going public engagement, (iv) critical knowledge transfer to many scientific disciplines. Online access applications will include questionnaires (before and after) to capture impact related information. We will seek industrial acknowledgement of XPS/UPS facility importance, where confidentiality allows. We will request scientific acknowledgement of the facility in published papers. We will publicise (website, e-newsletter & workshops) the facility, research outcomes & impact to the scientific community, potential users and the wider public. We will promote the successful outcomes among politicians and policymakers through established reporting channels.


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Description We have progressed with the design of the specialist chamber to be attached to the XPS system; this has contributed to a better understanding of the opportunities and limitation of the proposed advanced analytical techniques
Exploitation Route Too early to say
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology