Analytical Answers, Inc. to Bring Materials Analysis Expertise to Advanced Manufacturing Convention


Analytical Answers, Inc., a Woburn, Massachusetts-based technical consulting firm and service provider which helps advanced manufacturing firms monitor their processes and solve R&D and production problems, will be exhibiting at this year’s Advanced Manufacturing convention June 12-14 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

We are excited to be discussing solutions to some of advanced manufacturing’s toughest quality and analysis challenges, using technologies available in their laboratory that are normally only found in large corporations or research facilities, combined with the unique expertise of their hands-on team of scientists.

Five-Minute Material Analysis Update Available

The scientists and staff at Analytical Answers welcome existing clients to their booth and invite new clients to stop by and discover the many ways that the company can help explore micro-to-nano level surface and bulk composition and structure, wear, and failure mode analysis. This year they have also made significant additions to their extensive repertoire of optical, x-ray, electron, and ion-based analytical capabilities. They are now offering Broad Ion Beam Milling (BIB) and small spot ESCA, also known as X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). They note that “BIB rapidly sections through large (3mm+) areas of materials, including some that often can’t be cut by FIB, ultramicrotomy or polishing techniques. Small Spot XPS provides a surface analysis with a lateral resolution of 30µm, compared to a spot size greater than 400µm previously available with “standard” ESCA.” Adding these techniques for sectioning and analysis expands the range of materials that can be analyzed and enables surface analyiss (1-4 atom layers, with ion sputtering provide depth proviling capabilities) with significantly better spatial resolution.

The company has added these capabilities to extend their ability to analyze customer materials with more advanced nano-level analysis including:

  • Comparing oxidation depth across samples
  • Checking coating and lubrication thickness and composition
  • Examining subsurface material composition by ion sputtering and scanning
  • Checking chemical consistency of materials, for example differentiating sulfide from sulfite
  • Preparing improved samples to visually or chemically analyze microscopic structures, fillers, or inclusions (such as in/on circuit boards or in polymers such as catheters or extruded materials).

The new capabilities at Analytical Answers, Inc. extend the abilities of their scientific staff, who have a combined 100-plus years of experience. They will now be able to work with clients to examine surface features as small as 30µm on conductive and insulating materials, yielding greater information on isolated anomalies, and material characteristics that can only be revealed with this more finely-focused probe size.

Specific Benefits

Manufacturers producing medical equipment such as surgical mirrors, with coatings consisting of multiple nanometer-thick layers will benefit from the detailed analysis of their product using XPS, and the ability to check production samples against FDA requirements. Clients can also verify the quality of new materials such as graphene using XPS. BIB allows rapid sectioning of previously problematic materials such as soft polymer materials often found in medical devices, or other composites and coatings that can be distorted by conventional preparation techniques, facilitating analysis by other techniques such as Scanning Auger Microanalysis or Scanning Electron Microscopy.

A Corporate Lab for a Diverse Range of Manufacturers

Only the largest corporate laboratories have the capabilities Analytical Answers has to offer its clients. Analytical Answers is pleased to also work with these companies, when priority scheduling is required but unavailable at their in-house laboratories, or when additional analytical capacity is needed. They are also at the Advanced Manufacturing exhibit to welcome smaller manufacturing companies who don’t routinely use analytical laboratory services but have occasional manufacturing problems or quality issues that might benefit from analysis. The benefits could be improved product or process quality better understanding how  processes are actually working and what materials or characteristics could be further improved.

Preparing for Future Production

In the fast-paced technology development environment of advanced manufacturing, future-oriented companies will seek the data about their products and their composition that Analytical Answers routinely provides. Quality assurance testing can be moved from operational pass-fail to production sample analysis which verifies that product margins are being maintained. Analytical Answers provides information which can help advanced manufacturing companies start planning improvements to their product and production techniques ahead of the curve.

A Summary of their New Capabilities

Broad Ion Beam Milling and Small Spot ESCA (Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis, or X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy – XPS).

  1. Broad Ion Beam Milling (BIB) rapidly sections through large (3mm+) areas of materials, including some which couldn’t be cut by other methods such as brittle materials, soft polymers, or materials with inclusions or fillers of varying hardnesses.
  2. Small Spot ESCA provides a surface analysis spot size of 30µm, along with surface sputtering and depth profile capabilities. The improved analysis area provides an order of magnitude improvement in spatial resolution, compared to previously available ESCA instruments.

These new capabilities are in addition to a large menu of existing analysis options, available here.

Come visit Analytical Answers at booth 559 to find out more! Of course, you can also call, email, or contact them through their Web site,


Analytical Answers is a consulting and technical services company providing microanalysis, surface characterization, and failure analysis. With over 100 years of combined experience among our scientists, and instrumentation capabilities usually only found in corporate or research laboratories, we provide resources and expertise to translate data into solutions.