Analytical Services


We offer unique and state-of-the-art local electrochemical characterizations of the surface reactivity and chemical durability of high-performance materials, coatings and technological components, as applied in civil engineering, medical implants, automotive industry, aviation, machine tooling, power generation, packaging, watches, microelectronics and sensing devices, e.g.

  • Role of microstructural heterogeneities (e.g. precipitates, impurities, grain boundaries, micro-cracks, pores) on the reactivity and degradability of high-performance materials, joint assemblies and coating systems
  • Chemical stability and biocompatibility of medical implants in bio-environments with simultaneous monitoring of local ionic dissolution processes.
  • Altering behavior (deterioration or degradation) of  the functional properties of electronic devices and sensors.

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) is one of the most frequently employed Thermal Analysis methods. It can be used to analyse nearly all energetic effects occurring in a solid or liquid during thermal treatment (e.g. measurement of phase transformation enthalpies, heat capacities, grain growth, solidus and liquidus temperatures). The NETZSCH DSC 404 C Pegasus® operates accord-ing to the differential heat flux principle. Using this method, a sample and a reference are subjected to a controlled temperature program (heating, cooling or isothermal within the temperature range from RT – 1500°C). The actually measured properties are the temperature of the sample, and the difference in heat flux between sample and reference.

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Our Hitachi S-3700N SEM is designed to fill the gap between conventional optical microscopes (as available at e.g. the Empa User Lab Metallography) and high-resolution scanning electron microscopes (as available at the Empa Electron Microscopy Center). With its large analysis chamber, relatively large specimens and material components can be investigated (max. diameter 300 mm / max. height 110 mm). At the same time, the sample stage can hold specimens with a load of up to about 5 kg. It is equipped with the following detector systems for microstructural and compositional analysis:

  • Secondary Electron Detector for investigation of topographical and morphological surface features with an ultimate lateral resolution down to about 5-10 nm (at 30 keV).
  • 4+1 Quadrant Backscattered Electron Detector for simultaneous imaging of Z-Contrast and Topological features (3D-BSE).
  • Up to date EDX Detector for elemental analysis including high-resolution phase mapping.

The SEM system is especially suited to investigate (large) fracture surfaces and/or heavy material components, as well as nonconductive materials (employing the systems' variable pressure function). If large or heavy samples or material components have to be investigated, without the need for extremely high lateral resolution and/or (ultra) high vacuum conditions, our SEM Operators are glad to help you out.

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