High Resolution Ion Beam Analysis Facility

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: ATI Electronics


The Surrey Ion Beam Centre has a long history (~40 years) of employing MeV Ion Beam Analysis techniques to aid UK academia and industry in understanding and developing materials in a number of diverse areas from cultural heritage and biomedical applications to electronic and photonic materials and steels and ceramics. In the past few years new detectors have become available which substantially increase the resolution of these classic techniques (Rutherford Back Scattering, Particle Induced X-ray Emission and Elastic Recoil Detection) which not only increase the selectivity, sensitivity and specificity of the techniques but also have the potential to add new features that will allow the small chemical shifts in the X-ray signals which can identify the bonding states of elements at depths of a few microns below a surface and in full ambient conditions. The ion beams used are such low intensity that for all but the most sensitive of materials will remain unaffected by the probing beam.
The new facilities requested will greatly enhance the current UK capability.

Planned Impact

This proposal will enable us to bring the Ion Beam Analysis facilities available at the National Ion Beam Centre up to the state-of-the-art and beyond other facilities available in Europe and the USA. The facility will provide users with an enhanced elemental analysis capability in vacuum (high resolution scattering spectroscopy) and full ambient conditions (High resolution PIXE). The new capabilities will greatly enhance what can already be achieved by increasing depth and mass resolution as well as sensitivity. It will also introduce a new capability to study the X-ray chemical shifts of elements in different binding states below the surface and at buried interfaces. This significant advance will allow a more comprehensive analysis than is currently possible at the sub-micron scale. The potential impact of this facility is far reaching and will add significant value to the existing >£90M ESPRC research portfolio that is already supported by the Surrey Ion Beam Centre and its strategic partners of the UK National Ion Beam Centre (UKNIBC) at Manchester and Huddersfield Universities. The proposed system will provide additional information for researchers working across 6 key EPSRC themes: Energy, Manufacturing for the Future, Healthcare Technologies, Global Uncertainties, ICT and Engineering. Without this facility, much of the new research outlined in the case for support could not be conducted in the UK.
The UKNIBC currently provides support and training to 33 PhD students from 13 different Universities in the UK and a further 16 small pump priming projects from 12 Universities in the UK. Providing access in this way to small projects and training gives a large number of academic users with unprecedented access to high quality results and training in this new provision.


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Description (RADIATE) - Research And Development with Ion Beams - Advancing Technology in Europe
Amount € 9,999,669 (EUR)
Funding ID 824096 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2019 
End 06/2023
Description UK National Ion Beam Centre Core Equipment 20/21
Amount £425,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/V034863/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2020 
End 05/2022