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Covalent Metrology Services Inc.

7 Orders Completed
Sunnyvale, California, US

About Covalent Metrology Services Inc.

Covalent’s mission is to level the playing field and ensure that clients of all sizes have access to outstanding data generated quickly and cost-effectively. High quality experimental data is the lifeblood of any successful commercial R&D program. Too many companies operate blindly without critical data because the proper tool is not available in-house, and sending samples out to service labs can be slow, frustrating and expensive. Data that is generated in-house can be unreliable or imprecise if tools are not properly calibrated, are obsolete, in disrepair or not properly operated.

Covalent’s Analytical Services and Metrology Partners units are open for business and on a mission to provide and enable better, faster and cheaper data for every client.

Our Services (27)


Dye And Pry Test

Starting at $350.00 per sample

Dye and Pry testing is a destructive, IPC-prescribed failure-analysis and quality-control technique performed on solder joints on printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA) to identify certain defects unique to solder joints, such as: cracks, “head-in-pillow” defects, and other joint separations. Even when compared against X-ray analytical techniques, ‘Dye and Pry’ remains the most widely accepted technique for characterizing solder-ball die-attach quality defects.

Dye an Pry procedures begin by submerging a target board in a specialized red, blue or green fluorescent dye, using vacuum-pressure impregnation. The marker fluid penetrates any cracks or other openings in the exposed solder joints. As part of this process, a final bake-out is done to set the dye. After bake-out, a pulling jig (which can sometimes be as simple as a hex bolt) is bonded to the top surface of the attached component using epoxy. Once the epoxy is set, the components are manually pulled from the board to allow visual assessment of the solder joints. Any pre-existing cracks will be stained red. Each joint is then inspected at a minimum 40X magnification using Advanced Optical Microscopy. 

Covalent provides a complete report of this analysis, which includes a selection of images captured of the total board and representative solder joints from planar (top-down) and lateral (side) orientations. Our technical experts have over 20 years of experience executing Dye & Pry analysis in accordance with IPC standards.

Sample Requirements:

  • Circuit board with solder joints 


  • Dye & Pry Testing $350 / Sample  
  • Dye & Pry: Large Samples $500 / Sample


Auger Electron Spectroscopy

Starting at $650.00 per hour

Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) is a surface-sensitive analytical technique used to quantify and map the elemental composition of the outermost 2-10 nm of a material.

This technique utilizes high-energy electron beam as an excitation source resulting in the emission of Auger electrons, whose kinetic energies are characteristic of the elements and chemical states present in the surface of a sample. The emitted auger electrons are picked up by a specialized detector, which scans over an energy range and analyzes the amount of auger electrons at each kinetic energy value. The resulting spectrum allows analysts to quantitatively determine the elemental composition of the surface. The source electron beam can also be finely focused to diameters as small as ~5 nm to create secondary electron and Auger images which are used not only for compositional and topographic analysis but also to locate features of interests. In conjunction with ion beam sputtering, depth profiling can also be done on samples to provide composition as a function of depth as well as layer thicknesses.

Sample Requirements:

  • Solid phase
  • Must be stable under ultra-high vacuum
  • Must be electrically conductive
  • Maximum dimensions: 6.5 mm x 6.5 mm x 2.5 mm


PHI 710 Scanning Auger Nanoprobe

  • The PHI-710 Auger nanoprobe is a unique AES instrument designed and optimized for high-performance auger spectroscopy applications. It provides superior Auger imaging, spatial resolution, sensitivity, and high spectral energy resolution to address the most demanding AES applications.


  • Auger Electron Spectroscopy   $650 / Hour



Starting at $350.00 per hour

Rheometry measures the flow and deformation of materials in response to applied stress and strain to evaluate their viscoelastic properties. It is used to evaluate the mechanical behavior of samples with both liquid- and solid-like characteristics.

In a rheometry test, a sample is subject to shearing with preset speed, frequency and temperature conditions –which can be either static or dynamic. Subsequent rheological changes in the material’s viscosity alter the amount of torque required to maintain a consistent shear speed and frequency, and thus the time-dependency of applied torque during measurement provides insight into the rheological nature of the material. In complex fluids and semi-solids, this encompasses time- and temperature-dependent non-Newtonian behaviors, such as: shear thinning and thickening, viscoelasticity, and gelation, among others.

Sample Requirements:

  • Semisolid (gel, paste, ointment) or fluid phase (solution, slurry, liquid)
  • Semisolid stiffness upper limit: up to a few decades of kPa
  • Fluid material viscosity lower limit: down to 1 mPa·s (1 cps)


Anton Paar MCR 302 Rheometer

  • Maximum torque: 200 mNm
  • Maximum Angular Velocity: 314 rad / sec
  • Maximum Speed: 3000 rot / min
  • Angular Frequency Range: 10-7 to 628C rad / sec
  • Normal Force Range: 0.005 to 50 N
  • Normal Force Resolution: 0.5 mN
  • Temperature Range: -160 to 1000 °C


Rheometry  $350 / Hour


Dynamic Light Scattering

Starting at $350.00 per sample

Dynamic light scattering (DLS) provides a nondestructive, indirect measurement of the average size and size distribution of particles and colloids in solutions.

Particles suspended in a liquid are constantly undergoing random Brownian motion, and their size directly affects their speed: smaller particles move faster than larger ones. When a laser light source is applied to an aqueous sample of particles in solution, it scatters around them as it passes. The scattered light is detected and recorded at some pre-defined angles and the time-dependence of changes in the scattered intensity profiles can be correlated to the particles’ speed, and therefore to their average size and distribution throughout the system. Plots of the relative frequency of distinct particle sizes and speeds can then be generated for subsequent analysis.

Sample Requirements:

  • Particle Diameter Range: 0.3 nm to 10 µm
  • Minimum Sample Volume: 100 µL for particle size analysis
  • Maximum Concentration: approximately 50% m/v (depends on sample)


Anton Paar Litesizer 500

  • The Litesizer 500 from Anton Paar is the only DLS-based particle analyzer able to perform a straightforward measurement of the sample’s refractive index at the exact wavelength and temperature of a given measurement. This ensures its maximal accuracy for particle size and zeta potential analysis.
  • Particle Diameter Range: 0.3 nm to 10 µm


  • Dynamic Light Scattering  $350 / Sample


Zeta Potential Measurements

Starting at $300.00 per sample

Zeta potential measures the strength of net charge on particle and solid surfaces. The higher the magnitude of this potential, the stronger the surface interactions (repulsion and/or attraction) will be when the sample contacts other charged materials.

In particles, zeta potential is measured in solution-state using Electrophoretic Light Scattering (ELS). ELS is a variant methodology of Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) and is likewise used to measure the speeds of solute particles. Unlike standard DLS, ELS evaluates particle kinetics in response to an oscillating electric field. The field induces electrophoretic movement that yields a slight frequency shift in the scattering laser beam. A collection of specialized detectors measures the magnitude and frequency of these shifts against a reference laser beam, and the resulting outputs are correlated to particle mobility and zeta potential.

In solid (macroscopic) samples, instruments instead measure Streaming Potential to interpolate zeta potential. In this technique, a solid, electrochemically active material is mounted to form a capillary channel. Then, a solution of electrolytic ions is passed through the channel under the influence of a controlled pressure gradient. As they flow, the ions induce electrophoretic effects in the slipping plane of the sample surface, causing charge carriers in this layer to rearrange. The system measures the resulting change in electrical potential as a function of electrolyte strength and uses this data to calculate the zeta potential of the sample.

Sample Requirements:

For Solid Samples:

  • Minimum Particle Size (Powders): 25 μm
  • Sample Cells Available: Cylindrical, Adjustable-Gap, Clamping
  • Irregular sample geometries and nonplanar samples are not well suited for this measurement

For Liquid Samples:

  • Required Sample Volume: 2 mL
  • Particle Size Range: 3.8 nm to 100 μm
  • Maximum Sample Concentration: 70 % w/v


Anton Paar SURPASS 3

  • Streaming Potential Voltage: ± 2000 mV
  • Streaming Current: ± 2 mA
  • Cell Resistance: 5 Ω to 20 MΩ
  • pH Scan Range: 2 to 12
  • Temperature Range: 20 °C to 40 °C

Anton Paar Litesizer 500

  • Potential Range: ± 1000 mV
  • Particle Size Range: 3.8 nm to 100 μm
  • Temperature Range: 0 °C to 90 °C


  • Zeta Potential   - Please contact us
  • Zeta Potential: Colloidal Dispersion  $300 / Sample 
  • Zeta Potential: Solid Surface (pH Range)  $900 / Sample 
  • Zeta Potential: Solid Surface (single pH)  $350 / Sample



Starting at $300.00 per sample

Nanoindentation (nano-indent) is a quasi-static mode of nanomechanical analysis used to measure hardness and reduced elastic modulus of solid samples. It is especially useful for evaluating thin film coatings.

To make a nanoindentation measurement, an indenter tip (made of a material much harder than the sample: commonly diamond) is pressed into the sample surface. A force is applied to the tip and increased until it penetrates the surface to a user-defined stopping point. The force is then held for a preset duration of time, followed by unloading and retracting from the surface. While the tip is pressed and released from the surface, a force vs. displacement curve is measured. Hardness and modulus are calculated instantaneously by the tool. Typically an array of indents are done to provide reasonable measurement statistics and eliminate outlier measurements from issues such as surface particulates.

Hardness is determined by calculating the ratio of the maximum force to the area of the tip. Modulus is determined by fitting the unload-curve to a linear slope.

Instrument Utilized: Bruker Hysitron TI Premier*

Sample requirements:

  • Medium to hard solids (10 GPa – 100 MPa) 
  • Flat surface for best result
  • Samples cut to 2 cm x 2 cm to fit in Hysitron enclosure

Nanoindentation: Thin Film < 100 nm Thick, priced at $450/Sample

* Covalent Metrology offers fast data turnaround time on this instrument.


Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

Transmission Electron Microscopy services
Starting at $850.00 per sample

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is the highest-resolution imaging technique available today. It is used to visualize sample features with atomic-level spatial resolution limits in order to characterize morphology of complex nanostructures.

In a TEM, a high-energy electron beam is applied to a very-thin sample (a lamella), which is prepared to be electron-transmissive i.e. typically 20 to 50 nm thick. As the beam passes through the sample, scattering interactions occur between its electrons and the atoms present which alter the transmitted beam intensity. These scattering events can produce several types of contrast in the final image, including: amplitude contrast (arising from atomic number and mass/thickness) phase contrast (from quantum phase shifting due to multiple scattered beams’ interference), diffraction contrast (from crystal structure and orientation), and more. Different imaging modes on the TEM can target certain types of contrast over others, facilitating specialized analysis of relevant information. The electron beams transmitted through the sample are focused by the TEM objective lens to form an image below it. This image is then magnified through a final series of electromagnetic optics, and detected by a specialized CCD camera.

Thermo Scientific Talos F200X (S)TEM

  • TEM Line Resolution: ≤ 0.10 nm
  • TEM Information Limit: ≤ 0.12 nm
  • Maximum Alpha Tilt: ± 90°
  • (with tomography holder)
  • Maximum Diffraction Angle: 24°
  • Electron Source: High-Brightness Field Emission Gun
  • Gatan OneView CCD: 16MP 4K camera
  • Quad-EDS Detectors for enhanced sensitivity and detection limits

Pricing by Technique:

Transmission Electron Microscopy $850 / Sample 

Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy - Please contact us 

STEM + Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy  $1250 / Sample 

STEM + Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy  $1500 / Sample


Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

Scanning Electron Microscopy services
Starting at $325.00 per hour

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is a surface imaging technique capable of achieving nm resolution on topographical features.

To generate electron images – called micrographs – a highly focused electron beam is scanned over the surface of a specimen. As it scans, the beam interacts with the sample to produce several detectable signals (different types of photons and electrons) through elastic and inelastic scattering events. The intensities of these signals depend predominantly on the atomic number of the scattering atom, and the adjacent surface topography. Each signal is affected by these factors slightly differently, and the SEM can be calibrated to detect one or two signals at a time. As the electron beam is scanned, the active detector(s) measure the intensity of the selected signal(s) at each pixel, and correlate these to a grayscale value. When the scan is complete, the system outputs an image that captures topographical (and sometimes relative atomic number) information.

In addition to standard SEM detectors, all Covalent instruments are also outfitted with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) detectors to capture quantitative elemental composition measurements, as well as 2D elemental maps, in addition to conventional SEM images.


Thermo Scientific Helios 5 DualBeam

  • Maximum Horizontal Field Width: 2.3 mm at 4 mm WD
  • Electron Beam:
  • Resolution Limit: 0.7 nm at 1 kV
  • Current Range: 0.8 pA to 100 nA
  • Accelerating Voltage Range: 350 V to 30 kV
  • Ion Bea
  • Electron Beam: 
  • Resolution Limit: 4.0 nm at 30 kV using preferred statistical method
  • Current Range: 1 pA to 100 nA
  • Accelerating Voltage Range: 500 V to 30kV

Thermo Scientific Scios DualBeam

  • Powerful charge neutralization
  • Enables analysis on magnetic samples
  • Able to operate above vacuum pressure

Pricing options:

  •  Scanning Electron Microscopy  $325 / Hour 
  • SEM + Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy  $375 / Hour 
  • SEM: High Resolution  $375 / Hour 
  • SEM: Environmental SEM  $325 / Hour 
  • SEM: Large Area  $375 / Hour

* Covalent Metrology offers fast data turnaround time on this instrument.



Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
Starting at $100.00 per sample

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) is a chemical analytical technique used to assay the composition and chemical structure of solutions, solids, mixtures, and macromolecules. Due to its ability to capture dynamic molecular behavior, it can also be used to characterize reaction kinetics, real-time structural rearrangements, substrate binding and catalysis, and many other processes. Most NMR is done with liquid samples; however solid state NMR can be done with specialized equipment. There is also a variation of NMR done at low temperatures.

NMR utilizes a strong, static magnetic field along with a weakly oscillating field surrounding the sample to induce and measure changes in the magnetic properties of select atomic nuclei. Before the NMR measurement, the sample is treated and target atomic species are replaced with electromagnetically active isotopes. The isotopic atoms undergo spin-state polarization as the weak field is turned on and off, and the energy and time associated with spin-state relaxation are measured. These values reflect the electromagnetic environment of each isotopically tagged atom; which can be correlated to the overall molecular structure and composition.

Polarization is induced multiple times during a single NMR measurement, and differential field strengths permit 1D-, 2D-, and 3D+ analytical modes, in which 1, 2, or 3+ atomic species are analyzed serially or simultaneously. This allows for complex molecular structure determination, and tracking of dynamic structural changes due to chemical processes.

Bruker Avance III HD 600MHz NMR Spectrometer

  • Magnetic Field Frequency Range: 5 to 650 MHz
  • Frequency Resolution: < 0.005 Hz
  • Phase Resolution: < 0.006°
  • Magnetic Field Strength: 14.1 Tesla
  • Probe Options:
  • Multinuclear Prodigy CryoProbe – standard liquid samples
  • – Temperature Range: -40 °C to +80 °C (for solution state samples only)
  • Bruker SmartProbe – lower-frequency nuclei (as low as 109Ag), 1H/19F decoupling, and correlational (2D / 3D) NMR experiments
  • – Temperature Ranger: -150 °C to +150 °C
  • High-power decoupling up to 15 kHz MAS (for solid-state NMR)

Bruker Avance III HD 500MHz NMR Spectrometer

  • Magnetic Field Frequency Range: 5 to 500 MHz
  • Frequency Resolution: < 0.005 Hz
  • Phase Resolution: < 0.006°
  • Magnetic Field Strength: 11 Tesla
  • Probe: Multinuclear Prodigy CryoProbe and Bruker SmartProbe (same as above)
  • High-power decoupling up to 15 kHz MAS (for solid-state NMR)

Varian Inova 500 MHz Spectrometer

  • 3 Radiofrequency channels with independent waveform generators
  • Optimized for 3D NMR experiments on 1H, 13C, 15N nuclei (‘HCN’) and dual-channel broadband experiments
  • Probe: 5mm Nalorac IDTG Triple-resonance Probe
  • Temperature Range: -100 °C to +150 °C


Standard pricing applies to minimum order size of $500.00.

     Liquid-state NMR - $100.00 / sample (500 MHz NMR or equivalent $175/hour tech time)

     Solid-state NMR - $700.00 / sample


Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) Services

Starting at $175.00 per image

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) measures surface topography of materials with sub-nm vertical resolution. The technique delivers fast data, with simple scans requiring only a few minutes to complete.

An AFM cantilever with a protruding ultra-sharp tip is raster scanned over the sample, which makes either intermittent or constant contact with the surface. The tip interacts with the sample, experiencing repulsive or attractive inter-atomic forces. A laser beam is reflected off the back of the cantilever onto a detector. As the cantilever scans, the detector monitors changes in the beam deflection. The z position of the cantilever shifts up or down to maintain a constant beam deflection and determine the vertical height of the surface.

Alternative advanced imaging modes allow for visualization and measurement of other material properties, such as: adhesion, modulus, charge distribution, work function, and magnetic domains (among others).

Sample requirements: Solid, liquid, or aqueous phase


Anton Paar Tosca AFM

  • The Tosca series uniquely combines premium technology with time-efficient operation, making this AFM a perfect nanotechnology analysis tool for scientists and industrial users alike.

Asylum Research Jupiter XR

  • The Jupiter XR from Oxford Instruments Asylum Research is the first and only large-sample AFM to offer both high-speed imaging and extended range in a single scanner. Jupiter provides complete 200 mm sample access and delivers higher resolution, faster results, a simpler user experience, and the versatility to excel in both academic research and industrial R&D laboratories.
  • Higher resolution than any other large-sample AFM 
  • Extended range 100 um scanner is 5-20x faster than most other AFMs

Bruker Nano Dimension (with Icon and FastScan Heads)

  • Whether using the Icon scanner with ultra-low noise and high accuracy, or employing the FastScan scanner for high scan rates, the Nano Dimension AFM from Bruker delivers exceptional ease of use and fast, high-resolution imaging and analysis.

Pricing by Technique:

  • Atomic Force Microscopy $175 / Image 
  • Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy $475 / Hour

* Covalent Metrology offers fast data turnaround time on this instrument; $500 minimum order.


X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

Starting at $380.00 per sample

X-ray Diffraction (XRD) is a nondestructive analytical technique which can be used to measure both physical and chemical properties of crystalline powders, thin films, epitaxial films, and bulk solid materials.

X-ray diffraction results when an monochromatic, collimated X-Ray beam strikes a crystalline sample and the lattice spacings between atomic planes produce constructive interference with the incident beam at specified angles, in accordance with Bragg’s Law. The XRD system scans over a range of diffraction angles, yielding diffraction peaks that can be correlated to distinct families of atomic planes in crystalline specimens. By analyzing the XRD peak pattern, one can: identify and quantify crystalline phases, calculate residual stress (macrostrain) in the material from measured lattice parameters, characterize the crystallite size and microstrain from peak broadening effects, and map the measured lattice parameters in reciprocal space to analyze pseudo-morphic growth of epitaxial films. Additionally, advanced modeling can be performed from high-resolution XRD data to obtain layer composition and thickness information for epitaxial films, and rocking-curves procedures can be used to show the quality of the films.

At Covalent, we use the newest in XRD technology, utilizing a high-brilliance Rotating Anode Cu source, Hypix-3000 Hybrid Pixel Array detector, and a variety of high-resolution optics.

Sample Requirements: 

  • Powder, film, or crystalline bulk solids
  • Flat surface required for analysis
  • Maximum Sample Thickness: 20 mm


Rigaku SmartLab *

  • HyPix-3000 X-ray Detector
  • Rotating Anode X-ray Source
  • X-ray Source Tube Voltage: 20 to 40 kV
  • X-ray Source Tube Current: 10 to 20 mA
  • Triaxial Sample Stage
  • Biaxial Goniometer Head

Pricing by Technique:
Discount rates apply to multiple analyses / sample. 

     Qualitative Phase ID - $380.00 / sample

     Crystallinity, Crystal Size OR Texture Analysis - $380.00 / sample

     Quantitative Phase ID - $600.00 / sample

     Residual Stress Analysis - $380.00 / sample

     Pole Figures Analysis - $400.00 / sample

     Offcut Analysis - $400.00 / sample

     Rocking Curves, Quality (per plane) - $600.00 / sample

     Rocking Curves, Composition, Thickness (per plane) - $700.00 / sample

* Covalent Metrology offers a qualified fast data turnaround time on this instrument.

Rigaku SmartLab Pharmacology X-ray diffraction



Starting at $125.00 per sample

Spectral ellipsometry (SE) is a non-contact, non-destructive optical characterization technique which can be used to assay numerous physical, optical, and topographical properties simultaneously and indirectly. Using advanced modeling techniques to augment raw polarization state data, SE can richly characterize thin films, transparent materials, and semi-opaque layers.

In an SE system, a beam of set wavelength and known initial polarization state is either reflected by (or transmitted through) the sample to be measured. A detector measures the changes to the beam’s polarization state vectors induced by interactions with the sample. This produces a raw data set capturing polarization at each measured wavelength; however, this is almost always the starting point of analysis. In order to determine many properties of interest, Advanced Modeling is required. This involves computationally fitting thickness and optical properties of layers in the sample to the raw spectra, enabling indirect determination of these material attributes, and numerous other more abstract characteristics (such as: surface roughness, interfacial layers, diffusion profiles, composition, crystallinity, and more).

Sample Requirements

  • Analytical area must be at least 1 x 1.5 mm
  • Area to be measured is flat and smooth (ideally < 50 nm surface roughness)
  • Sample height ≤70 mm
  • For transparent substrates, roughened backside preferre

Instrument: J.A. Woollam RC2-DI

  • Spectral Range: 193 to 1690 nm (0.73 to 6.42 eV; 1075 total wavelength bands) 
  • Dual-rotating compensator configuration (PCR­SCRA configuration)
  • Automated mapping up to 300 mm substrates w/ fully customizable X-Y resolution and scan pattern
  • Measurement Beam Diameter: 5 mm (standard); or 300 µm (focused)
  • Full Muller matrix measurement capability
  • Variable-angle transmission stage (45° – 90° angle-of-incidence range)

Pricing by Technique:

  • Spectral Ellipsometry Please contact us 
  • Spectral Ellipsometry: Mapping (10-Points)  $250 / Sample 
  • Spectral Ellipsometry: Variable Angle (Single-Point) $125 / Sample

Woollam VASE 2100 DI



Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
Starting at $175.00 per sample

Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) is a nondestructive, optical technique used to analyze chemical composition and the optical properties of a material.

In an FTIR measurement, an initially wide range of infrared wavelengths are simultaneously shone upon an area of the sample. Using an interferometer, the FTIR system then extracts a specific wavelength band at a time and measures its light intensity: selectively detecting either reflected or transmitted beams. The operator will determine whether to target transmittance or reflectance intensity based on the sample’s composition and topography. After this initial measurement, the extracted wavelength band is subsequently scanned over the entirety of the wavelength range, capturing an intensity measurement at each band. The resulting values are then fourier-transformed to produce the initial sample spectrum. To isolate the real sample spectrum, a reference – or ‘blank’ – trial is conducted without any material inserted in the beam path. This spectrum is used to normalize the sample spectrum and to isolate the relevant specimen information from the total signal. In the wavelength range of interest, different types of chemical bonds absorb at different wavelengths: providing a spectral signature which is material dependent. The resulting background-subtracted spectrum can then be used to qualitatively identify chemical functional groups and trace chemicals present in the specimen.

ATR-FTIR is a variant FTIR measurement mode which uses a specialized crystal to generate multiple internal reflections along the lateral dimension of the sample, increasing signal-to-noise and surface sensitivity.

Sample Requirements:

  • Solid or liquid phase
  • Flat surface is ideal; other topographies are accepted, may impact data quality
  • Material must not be too reflective (e.g. high-reflection metallics), nor too transmissive (e.g. some glasses), for best results


Thermo Fisher Nicolet 6700 IR Spectrometer

  • 4 Analytical Modes / Measurement Accessories:
  • Transmittance
  • Specular Reflectance
  • Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR): both Ge and Diamond-C sampling systems
  • NicPlan IR Microscope (transmittance and reflectance mapping with 20 µm spot size)

Additional Specialty Techniques:

  • Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy   $225 / Sample 
  • Attenuated Total Reflectance FTIR   $175 / Sample 
  • FTIR + Thermogravimetric Analysis   $600 / Sample 
  • FTIR: Pyrolysis-FTIR  $250 / Sample 
  • FTIR: Microscopy  $250 / Sample


UV-Vis-NIR Spectroscopy

Starting at $125.00 per sample

Ultraviolet-Visible-Near Infrared spectrophotometry (UV-Vis-NIR) is a non-destructive, non-contact optical characterization technique used to measure reflectance, absorbance, and transmittance of liquids and solids. It can be used to refine advanced optical modeling, or to make efficient, direct measurements of standard optical properties.

The optical properties, reflectance, transmittance, and absorbance, of a material are characterized with UV-Vis-NIR by analyzing the sample response as a function of wavelength. Covalent’s UV-Vis-NIR systems are considered dual-beam spectrometers, in which collimated beams of light are directed in two paths, one as a reference, and one towards the sample. As the wavelength of the applied beams is scanned through an entire spectral range, the reflected or transmitted light intensities are compared between the sample and the reference path. The difference between these intensities is plotted to produce the final UV-Vis-NIR spectrum, which captures the sample’s background-subtracted optical response. Using advanced optical modeling, this raw data can then be used to derive other optical constants, as well as film thicknesses.

For materials like solar cells or glass, transmittance of light (total and/or direct) through the sample can be used to assess the effectiveness of anti-reflective coatings and uniformity of system response across the visible spectrum to inform and drive R&D, engineering, and manufacturing processes.

Sample Requirements

  • Solids, liquids, and powders accepted
  • For film thickness measurement: 100 nm to 1 um thick
  • Sample Size Limit: varies substantially, from 4 x 4 mm up to several cm2

Perkin Elmer Lambda 1050

  • Wavelength Range: 175 to 3300 nm
  • With 150 mm Integrating Sphere Accessory: 250 to 2500 nm

* Covalent Metrology offers a qualified fast data turnaround time on this instrument.


Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy

Starting at $300.00 per hour

Laser scanning confocal microscopy (also called “VK” for the instrument used) is a nondestructive technique which generates 2D and 3D images of a sample surface.

Covalent’s laser confocal microscopes can accomplish both optical imaging (using broadband white light) and laser-confocal imaging. In the latter case, a laser source beam is passed through a set of optics which include narrow pinholes. The effect of these pinholes is to provide a very shallow depth of field such that only light which is reflected from near the exact focal plane of the final lens will reach the detector. The microscope captures a series of vertical slices (in z-dimension) to build up a 3-dimensional profile at the illuminated beam spot. By scanning this spot in a raster-pattern laterally (in x-y plane), the system generates an image profile of the sample surface topography. Nanometer-scale resolution can be achieved, depending on the focusing lens used for the measurement.

Sample Requirements

  • Typically solid phase
  • Standard Set-up:
  • Lateral Dimension Limit: 200 mm x 200 mm
  • Vertical Height Limit: 100 mm
  • Samples may be either conductive or insulating
  • Nonstandard topologies and larger samples can be accommodated creatively.
  • Please contact us to discuss larger-sample LSCM analysis options


  • Keyence VK-X1100
  • Lateral Scan Range: 100 mm x 100 mm
  • Vertical Stage Range: 70 mm
  • Lateral Resolution: < 1 µm
  • Vertical Resolution: < 1 µm (nm-scale possible in some cases)
  • Magnification Limit: up to 28,800X

* Covalent Metrology offers a qualified fast data turnaround time on this instrument.



Starting at $225.00 per sample

White light interferometry (WLI) is a nondestructive, non-contact, optical surface topography measurement which uses coherence scanning interferometry to generate 2D and 3D models of surface height.

WLI instruments use a white light source to illuminate the surface of the sample. A beam-splitter divides the white light beam into two optical paths: one that reflects or scatters from the sample and one that reflects from a flat, known reference mirror. These two signal beams are then mixed together and the resulting image is projected onto a CCD image sensor. The two beams, when mixed, form an interference pattern whose intensity can be related to the sample surface height: any difference in optical path length between the reference and sample beams changes the measured interference intensity at each scanned point, providing an indirect measure of the height variance in the sample. The interference fringes are analyzed at each point to build up a 3D map of the sample surface.

Sample Requirements

Solid phase

  • Material: opaque, transparent, coated, uncoated, specular, or rough
  • Maximum lateral dimension: 147 mm
  • Maximum vertical height: 100 mm
  • Larger sample width and depth possible with partial coverage / scan area
  • Sample reflectivity: 0.05 – 100 %


Zygo ZeGage Plus 

  • Magnification Range: 1x to 50x
  • Maximum Vertical Scan Range: 20 mm
  • Surface Topography Reproducibility: ≤ 0.15 nm
  • Optical Lateral Resolution: 0.52 μm
  • Step Height Accuracy: ≤ 3%

* Covalent Metrology offers a qualified fast data turnaround time on this instrument.


Optical Microscopy

Starting at $225.00 per sample

Optical microscopy is ubiquitous in diverse fields within academic research and commercial industries. It is an affordable, rapid analytical imaging technique used to visualize samples. While optical microscopes may be common, many instruments fall far short on performance when compared with the cutting-edge digital microscope systems available at Covalent.

Advanced optical microscopes generate images in the same way modern digital cameras do, by capturing the light reflected back from (or transmitted through) a sample under set illumination. However, unlike a simple camera, modern optical microscopes also include intrinsic lens systems and sophisticated illumination systems that facilitate high magnification and dynamic range images with micron-scale resolution.

Our systems additionally incorporate extended depth-of-field optics, with automated compositing and image-stitching technologies to process and integrate images captured across different focal planes and oversized lateral domains. This enables fully focused, high-resolution imaging across the entirety of the desired field of view, even spanning large height differences in the features of interest. Distinct illumination modes (including: bright-field, dark-field, and mixed lighting, polarized lighting, and directional lighting) can be acutely controlled within a high-precision automation system to enable thorough characterization of critical surface features which may not otherwise be observable. In addition, this system has the unique ability to tilt the microscope with respect to the sample for enhanced edge definition images.

Sample Requirements

  • Solid or liquid phase
  • Maximum Sample Mass: 5 kg
  • Maximum Solid Dimensions: 100 mm (L) x 100 mm (W) x ~40 mm (T)


Keyence VHX-6000

  • Dynamic Microscope Tilt Range: -60° to 90° from vertical
  • Magnification Range: 20x to 2000x
  • Maximum Field of View 15.24 mm (lateral) x 11.40 mm (vertical) at 20x magnification
  • Illumination Modes: customizable bright-field, dark-field, and mixed lighting
  • High-precision, automated, in-situ dimensional analysis

* Covalent Metrology offers a qualified fast data turnaround time on this instrument.


Particle Analysis and Characterization

Starting at $225.00 per sample

Characterization of particle size, location, and quantity.

- SurfScan SP1 Particle Counter
- SurfScan SP3 Particle Counter

Pricing by Instrument:

     SurfScan SP1 - $225.00 / wafer

     SurfScan SP3 - $400.00 / wafer


X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometry

Starting at $365.00 per sample

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is a highly surface-specific chemical analytical technique used to probe the elemental composition and bonding states in the outermost 2-10 nm of a solid surface.

XPS makes use of the photoelectric effect to stimulate electron emission from the sample surface with a high-energy X-ray source. The photoelectrons which escape the sample surface by this process have kinetic energies uniquely correlated to the elemental species of the atom they emit from. An energy analyzer is used to tally and measure the kinetic energies of the photoelectrons. This data is computationally transformed into a binding-energy scale. The system then outputs a final spectrum contrasting binding energy (BE) with measured signal intensity, called a survey scan allowing for quantitative elemental composition determination. High-energy-resolution scans of selected elemental peaks are also done to analyze and quantify bonding states of the elements present. To characterize composition as a function of penetration depth in the sample, depth-profiling tests can be performed to iteratively access sub-surface compositional layers.

Sample Requirements: 

  • Solid phase
  • Stable under ultra-high vacuum conditions
  • Max dimensions: 60 mm (L) x 60 mm (W) x 20 mm (T)
  • Flatter topographies improve signal detection


Thermo Scientific Nexsa

  • Spot Size: 1 mm
  • Sensitivity: ppm
  • X-ray Source: monochromated, micro-focused, high-efficiency Al Kα X-ray Anode


  • X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy - Please contact us 
  • XPS: Depth Profile  $1095 / Sample 
  • XPS: Mapping $1460 / Sample 
  • XPS: Survey Scan $365 / Sample 
  • XPS: Survey Scan + High-Res Scans $730 / Sample



Time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry
Starting at $800.00 per hour

Time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (ToF-SIMS) is a highly surface-specific analytical technique used to qualitatively assess the composition of elements and functional groups within the outermost 1-2 nm of a sample.

ToF-SIMS is a sensitive and non-destructive (‘static’) variant of a broader class of chemical analysis techniques: secondary-ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS). ToF-SIMS instruments use a primary beam of ions scanned across a raster area on a sample to ablate secondary ion fragments from its surface. These secondary ions are then identified according to their mass, generating a spectrum of mass-peaks correlated to the functional groups and elements present in the sample surface. As the primary beam scans, a total spectrum of ion mass fragments is recorded at each pixel in the raster pattern. This allows for powerful extraction of chemical information from specific regions of interest within maps of each ion species’ relative signal intensity.

Sample Requirements:

  • Solid phase
  • Stable under ultra-high vacuum conditions
  • Maximum Sample Dimensions (approximate): 100 mm (L) x 100 mm (W) x 5 mm (T)


  • Primary Ion Source: 30kV LMIG with Bi, Au, or Ga emitter
  • Dual-beam Charge Neutralization
  • Depth profiling enabled with 20kV C60 Pulsed Ion Gun or 2 kV Cs Ion Gun


Electron Probe Microanalysis

Starting at $325.00 per hour

Electron probe microanlysis (EPMA) is a non-destructive technique used for high-sensitivity, quantitative determination of the elemental composition of a material.

This technique focuses an energetic beam of electrons onto the sample surface, thereby stimulating x-ray fluorescence. The wavelength of the x-ray is characteristic of the fluorescing element. The strength of that x-ray signal related to the abundance of that element within the excited volume, the depth the lement is within the sample and the other elements in the sample. Similarly, to Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (WDXRF), EPMA systems use wavelength-dispersive spectroscopy (WDS) detectors – which act like diffraction gratings – calibrated to detect various x-ray wavelengths.. By using wavelength-analyzers, EPMA achieves high resolution separation of emission lines, with low background, allowing for quantitative sensitivity to 10 ppm with appropriate use of reference standards. Additionally, because EPMA systems like Scanning Electron Microscopes , can be used to generate 2D element maps by measuring fluorescence at multiple points in a raster-scan.

The EPMA system utilized at Covalent also contains an energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) detector that can quickly obtain entire XRF spectra from points on the sample, albeit with much lower spectral resolution and sensitivity. This allows for rapid identification of the elements present to expedite quantitative analysis of their respective concentrations.

Sample REquirements:

  • Solid phase
  • Must be vacuum stable
  • Analyzed surface must be as smooth as possible for best result; polishing sometimes required
  • Must be conductive or able to be coated with a conductive material
  • Lateral Dimension Range: 1 mm to 1.5 inches
  • Vertical Dimension Range: 500 µm to 7/8 inch



  • Element Range: Boron (B) to Uranium (U)
  • Energy Range: 3 keV to 30 keV
  • Current Range: 1 pA to 1 µA
  • Spot-Size: approximately 1 µm to 10 µm
  • Detectors: 4x WDS detectors; 1 SDD EDS detector


  • Electron Probe Microanalysis  $325 / Sample 
  • EPMA: Advanced  $650 / Sample



Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography Coupled Mass Spectrometry
Starting at $350.00 per sample

Pyrolysis and thermal desorption gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Instrument: Agilent 7890 GC with 5975 MS



Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
Starting at $450.00 per sample

Also offer ICP-OES.

Instrument: Perkin Elmer Optima

Standard rate is provided for prepared samples. Covalent Metrology can prepare samples for analysis for an additional fee.


Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)

Thermogravimetric Analysis
Starting at $300.00 per sample

Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) is used to characterize sample volatility, as well as thermal stability and response.

When a sample reaches high enough temperatures, it undergoes chemical and physical transitions that affect its sediment mass. A TGA system measures the minute changes in sample weight in a controlled thermal environment – usually, as heat is applied to the system. Alternatively, constant temperature experiments can be conducted to evaluate a material’s thermal stability over a set time period. TGA instruments plot weight as a function of temperature and/or time, and analyzing these plots reveals several thermal properties of the material, including (but not limited to): thermal stability, heat resistance, volatility, and vaporization temperatures.

Sample Requirements:

  • Solids, powders, and semisolids accepted
  • Maximum Sample Mass: ~ 0.5 g
  • Pan Options:
  • Platinum (40 μL or 110 μL volume options)
  • Ceramic Cup (40 μL or 90 μL volume options)
  • Flat-faced sample or powders are preferred: measurement quality depends on contact uniformity between sample and pan


TA Instruments SDT Q600

  • Mass Sensitivity: 0.1 ug
  • Temperature Range: ambient to 1500 °C
  • Calorimetric Accuracy: ± 2% (based on metal standards)
  • Controlled Heating Rate (up to 1000 °C): 0.01 to 100 °C / min
  • Controlled Heating Rate (up to 1500 °C): 0.01 to 25 °C / min


Thermogravimetric Analysis    $300 / Sample


Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)

Starting at $300.00 per sample

Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is a thermal analysis technique used to characterize a variety of temperature-dependent physical and chemical changes in a material.

DSC instruments measure the amount heat transferred (exothermic (heat produced) and endothermic (heat required) between a sample and its environment as the overall temperature of the system is modulated / ramped. The sample is placed in a small pan and sealed. To increase the precision of the measurement, the system simultaneously measures heat flux in both the sample of interest, and an adjacent reference (a “blank,” or empty) pan. After the energy transfer in the reference is subtracted from the specimen signal, one is left with a DSC curve that quantitatively reflects the temperature dependence of numerous thermal events. Characteristic features in a DSC curve correspond to certain thermodynamic processes, as well as exothermic and endothermic chemical and physical transitions. These transitions can include include: recrystallization, softening and phase changes. By identifying these, it is possible to quantify the temperatures at which they occur, often allowing identification of the material (s) and to calculate additional, correlated thermal properties.

Sample Requirements:

No volatile samples

  • (TGA recommended as a preliminary test / screening method to validate sample viability for DSC)


TA Instruments DSC-2920

  • Temperature Range: -50 to 400 °C
  • Ramp Rate: 1 °C/min up to 30 °C/min
  • Temperature Accuracy: 1 °C
  • O2, Ar, or N2 atmosphere options


  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry  $300 / Sample


Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)

Starting at $300.00 per sample

Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) is used to study changes in the mechanical properties of a material under periodic stress as the temperature is varied. DMA results are used to assess: glass transitions, melting points, elastic modulus, strain-to-break, toughness, creep, and numerous other thermal and mechanical properties.

In a DMA measurement, an oscillating force is applied with a set frequency to a sample suspended in a near-frictionless environment. This force can be set to bend, stretch and compress, torque, or maintain tension directionally within the sample. While the dynamic stress is applied to the sample, the whole system is simultaneously subjected to set temperature change: either constant or iterated heating / cooling at fixed or variable rates. The material’s stress response over time is measured both through its dimensional changes and its damping of the oscillating force. DMA systems detect dimensional changes with hypersensitive optical sensors, and track damping through the applied force probe. These two metrics, recorded as a function of time and temperature, are used to produce DMA curves which provide robust, quantitative analysis of the sample’s thermomechanical characteristics.

Sample Requirements:

  • Solid phase
  • Smooth, symmetric, and regularly shaped for best data
  • Sample Dimension Limits:
  • For 3-point Bending Test:
  • thickness ≥ 4mm, length ≥ 40 mm;
  • For Tension Test:
  • thickness ≥ 200 µm, length ≥ 30 mm;
  • For Compression Test:
  • thickness 5 – 10 mm, diameter ~ 50 mm


Anton Paar MCR702 DMA

  • The MCR 702 MultiDrive is a combination DMA / Rheometer with the flexibility and precision to facilitate a huge array of test mode options.
  • Maximum Torque: 230 mNm 
  • Normal Force Range: 0.005 N to 50 N
  • Maximum Temperature: 1000 °C

Pricing:  Please contact us for pricing


Thermomechanical Analysis

Starting at $300.00 per sample

Thermomechanical analysis (TMA) probes the response of the sample’s thermal, dynamic, and static-mechanical properties as temperature is changed over time.

During a TMA measurement, a probe is set at rest on the surface of a sample, with no applied force. Then, heat is applied, causing temperature to rise, and inducing material property changes that deform the specimen. Hyper-fine measurements are taken of the probe’s vertical displacement, illuminating the sample’s morphological and mechanical response to temperature flux. During heating, one can also apply a controlled force across the probe (either dynamic/variable or unchanging/static), enabling different measurement modes that assess a wide assortment of mechanical properties as a function of temperature.

Sample Requirements:

  • Solid phase
  • Maximum dimensions: 26 mm (L) x 4.7 mm (W) x 1.0 mm (T)


TA Instruments Q400EM

  • Temperature Range: -150 to 1000 °C
  • Displacement Resolution: < 0.5 nm
  • Force Range: 0.001 to 2 N

Pricing - please contact us 

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