is a Web Designer Service X-TRONIX | Surface Science
+41 (0)21 802 54 90


Cutting-edge Technology Since 1988


Surface Science

Merits of the Kelvin Probes

The Kelvin Probe is one of the most sensitive surface science tools capable of detecting sub-monolayer films coverage.

A non-contact, non-destructive vibrating capacitor device it is used to measure the work function (wf) difference (also referred to as potential contrast image), or for non-metals, the surface potential (sp), between a conducting specimen and a vibrating tip. The Kelvin Probe has undergone a dramatic renaissance in recent years, with highly improved resolution of the instrument while also ensuring that it can be used in a vacuum. KP tips supplied are typically around 2mm to 10mm, while 0.05 mm tips have also been supplied for experienced system users; tip diameter defines the spatial resolution. The Kelvin Probe is a non-invasive technique, yet extremely sensitive to changes in the top-most atomic layers, such as those caused by deposition, absorption, corrosion and atomic displacement. In some cases it can detect less than one-thousandth of an absorbed layer!

KP Technology Systems offers the highest resolution of any current commercial device. The wf resolution of the firm's probes is 1-3 meV.

The list of research area's the Kelvin Probe can be applied to is constantly expanding, some examples include:

  • Adsorption
  • Fermi-level Mapping
  • Pyroelectricity
  • Biotechnology
  • Fuel Cells
  • Semiconductors
  • Charge Analysis
  • Medical Devices
  • Solar Cells
  • Coatings
  • MEMS
  • Surface Contamination
  • Corrosion
  • Nanotechnology
  • Surface Chemistry
  • Display Technology
  • Surface Photovoltage


The work function is an extremely sensitive indicator of surface condition and is affected by adsorbed or evaporated layers, surface reconstruction, surface charging, oxide layer imperfections, surface and bulk contamination, etc.


Testimonial 1 Testimonial 2


Here is a spectrum of dedicated Kelvin Probe systems specially developed for applications in a variety of environments ranging from ambient, controlled atmosphere and relative humidity through to UHV. Client choice of tip sizes, translator movement, port adapters and non-standard mounting angles can be accommodated for.


Ambient          Surface Photovoltage          UHV


KP Technology Product Range

KP Technology offers a spectrum of dedicated Kelvin probe systems specially developed for applications in a variety of environments, ranging from ambient, controlled atmosphere and relative humidity through to ultra-high vacuum. No other company offers our equipment expertise or range of products, which provide reliable and repeatable measurements. Our Ambient Pressure Photoemission Spectroscopy system is unique in the world, holding patents in the UK and internationally.



  • UHV Kelvin Probe

    Kelvin Probe - The Science

    An introduction to the Kelvin Probe for Surface Analysis and the mode of operation.


    Click to view!

  • Air Photoemission

    Photoemission System

     Ambient Pressure Photoemission Spectroscopy (APS) Systems.


    Click to view

  • surface voltage

    Surface Photovoltage

    View the Surface Photovoltage Spectroscopy System on the KP Technoloy website.


    Click to view!