Technical Resources

Vocabulary of Definitions for ~800 Terms for Surface Chemical Analysis - ISO

The surface chemical analysis vocabulary provides the definitions for some 800 surface chemical analysis terms in the two ISO International Standards:

1. ISO18115-1:2013(E) - Surface chemical analysis - Vocabulary - Part 1, General terms and terms used in spectroscopy

  • Definitions of the surface analysis methods
  • Definitions of terms for surface analysis
  • Definitions of terms for multivariate analysis. 
 2. ISO18115-2:2013(E) - Surface chemical analysis - Vocabulary - Part 2, Terms used in scanning-probe microscopy

  • Definitions of the scanned probe microscopy methods
  • Acronyms and terms for contact mechanics models
  • Terms for scanning probe methods.
These documents, available from ISO (International Standards Organization in Geneva) or your National Standards Body, cover the terms used in surface analysis spectroscopies such as Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and many similar methods as well as in the scanned probe microscopies (SPM) such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM), scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and many similar methods. Because it is important for analysts, researchers and students to communicate clearly and unambiguously, these definitions are now freely available from the ISO using the above links to pdf's of the documents or through the ISO portal. The Vocabularies are structured and it is easiest to find particular terms, or groups of terms, using the indexes from the pdf's at the ISO portal in which the term number is given. For convenience, both documents contain indices to the full set of terms as indicated below in the English versions of the documents:

  • In 18115-1 for 18115-1, the index is at pages 92-99 and for 18115-2 pages 100-103.
  • In 18115-2 for 18115-2, the index is at pages 38-41 and for 18115-1 pages 42-49.
The definitions are also available on the Online Browsing Platform at ISO18115-1* and ISO18115-2*. These links take you to a specific part of the ISO Online Browsing Platform (and do not allow access to the indexes), please wait for about a minute while they load. The general ISO Online Browsing Platform is useful for searching for terms not included in the above standards but that may have been defined in other relevant standards covering the wider spheres of chemistry, optics, etc. It provides all definitions for any given term in ISO standards (click "Terms & Definitions" button) from the different fields so that they may be compared.

To help users of scanned probes, we also provide a family tree of the SPM acronyms, and annotated figures of the design of complex probes and of the probe assembly (PDF 340 KB)



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Permission has been granted by ISO for public access to ISO 18115-1 and ISO 18115-2 for educational and implementation purposes through seven approved websites at the National Physical Laboratory (UK), the American Vacuum Society (USA), the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (USA), the Surface Analysis Society of Japan (Japan), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan), the Bundesanstalt fur Materialforshung und –prufung (Germany) and the National Metrology Institute of Germany (Germany).