AGS-Engineering Inc.

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Surface Science

The phrase ''Surfaces cover everything'' is one we all should give a second to think about. Surface science is the study of physical and chemical phenomena that occur at the interface of two phases, including solid-liquid interfaces, solid-gas interfaces, solid-vacuum interfaces, and liquid-gas interfaces. It includes the fields of surface chemistry and surface physics. Some related practical applications are classed as surface engineering. The science encompasses concepts such as heterogeneous catalysis, semiconductor device fabrication, fuel cells, self-assembled monolayers, and adhesives. Surface science is closely related to interface and colloid science. Interfacial chemistry and physics are common subjects for both. The methods are different. In addition, interface and colloid science studies macroscopic phenomena that occur in heterogeneous systems due to peculiarities of interfaces.

Surface chemistry can be roughly defined as the study of chemical reactions at interfaces. It is closely related to surface engineering, which aims at modifying the chemical composition of a surface by incorporation of selected elements or functional groups that produce various desired effects or improvements in the properties of the surface or interface. Surface science is of particular importance to the field of heterogeneous catalysis.

The adhesion of gas or liquid molecules to the surface is known as adsorption. This can be due to either chemisorption or by physisorption. These too are included in surface chemistry.

The behavior of a solution based interface is affected by the surface charge, dipoles, energies, and their distribution within the electrical double layer.

Surface physics can be roughly defined as the study of physical changes that occur at interfaces. It overlaps with surface chemistry. Some of the things investigated by surface physics include surface diffusion, surface reconstruction, surface phonons and plasmons, epitaxy and surface enhanced Raman scattering, the emission and tunneling of electrons, spintronics, and the self-assembly of nanostructures on surfaces.

The study and analysis of surfaces involves both physical and chemical analysis techniques.

Several modern methods probe the topmost 1–10 nm of the of surfaces exposed to vacuum. These include X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Auger electron spectroscopy, low-energy electron diffraction, electron energy loss spectroscopy, thermal desorption spectroscopy, ion scattering spectroscopy, secondary ion mass spectrometry, and other surface analysis methods included in the list of materials analysis methods. Many of these techniques require vacuum as they rely on the detection of electrons or ions emitted from the surface under study.

Purely optical techniques can be used to study interfaces under a wide variety of conditions. Reflection-absorption infrared, surface enhanced Raman, and sum frequency generation spectroscopies can be used to probe solid-vacuum as well as solid-gas, solid-liquid, and liquid-gas surfaces.

Modern physical analysis methods include scanning-tunneling microscopy (STM) and a family of methods descended from it. These microscopies have considerably increased the ability and desire of surface scientists to measure the physical structure of many surfaces. This increase is related to a more general interest in nanotechnology.

For any potential engineering projects involving surfaces, adhesives, enhancement of adhesion to surfaces, surface modification for making surfaces hydrophobic (difficult wetting), hydrophillic (easy wetting), antistatic, antibacterial or antifungal...etc., contact us and our surface scientists will help you in your designs and analysis.

If you are mostly interested in our manufacturing capabilities instead of engineering capabilities, we recommend you to visit our custom manufacturing site

If you would like to visit our store looking for industrial test and metrology equipment, quality control and inspection equipment...etc., that may be suitable for your projects, please click here:

AGS-Engineering, Engineering Services and Design - Reverse Engineering - Research and Product Development,
Phone: 505-5506501 or 505-5655102, Fax: 505-814-5778, Skype: agstech1, Email:, Website:, Mailing address for checks, documents, paperwork: AGS-Engineering, PO Box: 4457, Albuquerque, NM, 87196 USA; To meet our marketing and sales team in person: AGS-Engineering, AMERICAS PARKWAY CENTER, 6565 Americas Parkway NE, Suite 200, Albuquerque, NM 87110, USA