Deposit characterization : FILAB’s methodological process

The surface of a material constitutes an area exposed to numerous interactions with the environment, the quality of which determines which industrial procedures can be carried out on a material (adhesion, application of coatings…) and its performance in various scenarios (resistance to corrosion…).

For these processes and applications, it is therefore advantageous to characterize the cleanliness of a material’s surface but also to identify the chemical nature of any contaminants or deposits that could be the cause of a loss in performance or the origin of a defect (corrosion, disbonding, breakage, …).

With the potential nature of these deposits or contaminants being highly varied, the first step in characterizing a deposit consists of running diagnostics to determine the chemical nature of the contamination which can be organic, inorganic or metallic. This first study is done using a scanning electron microscope coupled to an EDX microprobe which allows for the surface of a material to be semi-quantitively analyzed and to determine if these areas are homogenous or heterogenous. Thanks to the nondestructive nature of this characterization technique, the contaminant or deposit can then be studied in greater detail using more specific organic, inorganic or metallic analysis techniques.

As part of the complementary organic analysis, the complementary characterization techniques used to identify the deposit are Gas Chromatography coupled to a Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS), Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR or µ-FTIR) or even Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS)

Crystallographic analysis techniques such as X-Ray Diffraction or surface analysis techniques les Photoelectron Spectroscopy will be suggested if the deposit is inorganic in nature.

Finally, Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometry (ICP-AES or ICP-MS) will be used if the deposit or contaminant is metallic in nature.

With significant experience in implementing all these characterization techniques, FILAB can assist you in identifying a deposit and evaluating cleanliness.

For more information, contact one of our experts via email at :

The positive aspects of FILAB

  • A highly qualified team

  • Responsiveness in responding to and processing requests

  • A complete analytical park of 2100m²

  • Tailor-made support

Alexandre VIGLIONE
Alexandre VIGLIONE Technical Sales Representative
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