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50 Years of XPS

Celebrating the development of XPS instruments

50 Years of XPS Instruments

It's fifty years since we introduced our first X-ray photoelectron spectrometer, the VG Scientific ESCA2. To help celebrate, we went to visit the person that bought the first instrument, Professor Jim Castle, Emeritus Professor of Materials Science, University of Surrey. Professor Castle was able to explain why XPS was such an important technique for his research in those early days, and how he has seen the technology mature and develop. By way of a thank you, we invited Professor Castle to visit our application laboratory, where he could see our latest instrument, the Thermo Scientific Nexsa Surface Analysis System.

Interview with Prof. Jim Castle, University of Surrey



The ESCA 2 system in the Department of Engineering Materials at the University of Surrey in the 1970s. The system was designed to allow samples to be reacted with gases, to understand how the surface chemistry changed.


Selected instruments from our history

Since 1969 we have developed nearly fifty different surface analysis instruments. A selection of those systems are shown here.

The ESCA 3, introduced in 1973.

The ESCALAB, introduced in 1979.

The ESCALAB mk2, introduced in 1982.

The ESCALAB 200 series, introduced in 1990.

The Microlab 350, introduced in 1998.

The Multilab 2000, introduced in 2000.

The Theta 300 mk2, introduced in 2004.