Course Code: Practical Surface and Interface Analysis of Industrial Coatings

Understanding the surfaces/interfaces of a material and its interaction with the surrounding environment are important drivers steering modern technological applications and innovations. While it defines the boundary between the bulk of a material and its surrounding environment, it is important to realise that surface atoms have fewer nearest neighbours. It will be in a different physical and chemical environment from that in the bulk. The surface behaviour and reactivity will determine how well the material performs in its intended function and usage. This will be of particular interests for materials structured at the nanoscale. As the physical dimensions of a material decreases from 1mm to 100nm and eventually towards the atomic scale, more of atoms of the material are at the surface rather than in the bulk. It is thus important that the surface properties of materials used in todays’ world are well understood. Analytical techniques that will enable surface chemical and physical states to be probed and clearly distinguish it from the underlying bulk are thus required.

This course will provide a primer into understanding surfaces of materials and its reactivity. Together, with the concepts of selectivity and sensitivity, the principle and application of NUS analytical tools such as XPS, AES, SIMS, AFM, TEM/EDX/EELS, FIB/SEM will be presented with specific references to Surface finishing/engineering and allied industries. Besides, other traditional bulk analytical techniques are also briefly described & complimented with references to scientific research and industrial applications. These advanced analytical tools and specialized methodologies have been providing facility to leading edge research labs and regional manufacturers to link composition , structure, morphology, roughness, hardness and adherence with defect reduction, yield improvement and optimum performance enhancement. It is indispensable in material & process research, process development, defect free manufacturing and product reliability.


Dr. Gopal Krishnan : Received Doctoral degree from Physics Department/National University of Singapore ( NUS ) and currently works as Technical Advisor and consultant supporting Scientific Research and Industry Technology Development through advanced analytical technologies and road mapping. He has published a number of research papers with colleagues and students in electronic materials science, surface science area in international journals, conference proceedings, and had travelled widely for technical presentation through his work experience at NUS Physics Department, A*STAR, and professional associations. He is/was a member of Institute of Physics (Singapore), Singapore Surface Engineering Association( SSEA/ ), MRS, AVS, ASTM, NASF, International Institute of Forecasting (USA) and SICCI. He has founded the Symposium on Surface Engineering for Industrial Applications at Singapore in 2005 with SSEA and has been the conference General Chair/Joint-Chair at Singapore, Chennai/India and Russia. He is currently chairing the upcoming second technical symposium on Micro-Solder Joint Reliability in Aug 2017, co-organized by Physics/NUS/Singapore and CALCE/UMD/USA.. He has founded the company A-IATS/Singapore ( and Surface Technologies/Chennai/INDIA,( and play advisory role. He is also helping Megamart OE PTE Ltd ( ) as Technical Director in optoelectronics project development. Dr Krishnan is also serving as Senior Research Fellow (Adj) at Physics, NUS, Singapore since 2010 and is reachable at ( ) or


Dr Tok received his BSc (Honours in Chemistry and Physics, 1st Class) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and PhD in Semiconductor Materials at the Imperial College London, UK. He joined NUS in 1999 as an Assistant Professor with the Department of Materials Science before moving to the Department of Physics as Associate Professor in 2005.He is interested in surface science and interface analysis related to growth and fabrication of electronic materials at the nanoscale. In particular, elucidating growth kinetics and energetics occurring on surfaces and interfaces of semiconducting (Group IV-related and III-V) materials. He has published over 160 technical journal papers and given over 50 presentations at conferences and seminars within this area of research. Email Address: Electronic Materials Growth and Interface Characterisation (ļ„MaGIC) Laboratory, Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge Road, Singapore.