Research Topic

Innovative Methodologies for the Chemical Characterization of Biomaterial Surfaces by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) for Biotechnological Applications

About this Research Topic

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) is a fundamental method for probing surfaces of biological materials and their interfacial interactions in biotechnological applications. This is due to its ability to characterize the elemental and chemical speciation of virtually any material surface. More specifically, it can be used to identify the chemical functional groups present on surfaces at a sampling depth of ~10 nm. The potential of this technique, as well as its drawbacks, have been mapped out in the large bibliography on the subject, starting from the second half of the 1980s. Recently, technological advances in XPS instrumentation development, designed to enable the characterization of organic and biological samples in a safe environment (i.e., by enabling analyses at pressures far above UHV), have allowed some intrinsic drawbacks to be overcome or mitigated.

This Research Topic aims to highlight advances in XPS--specifically in the analysis of materials of biological and biotechnological interest--by proposing advanced methodologies and approaches. Therefore, the goal is to capture the fast development of new methodologies in the field of bioanalytical analyses, which is becoming increasingly popular. The new generation of XPS spectrophotometers, operating in ultra-high vacuum (UHV), has contributed toward the application of this technique in bioanalytical applications. In this framework, recent developments of new instrumentation working at pressures close to environmental conditions, much more compatible with physiological properties of bioorganic samples, are expected to result in further advances of this technique for biomaterials.

As such, we will cover promising, recent, and novel research trends in analytical methodologies for the chemical characterization of biomaterial surfaces and interfaces based on XPS. We welcome submission of Original Research, Review and Mini Review articles. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:

 • Novel sample preparation and characterization methodologies of biomolecules, such as proteins, peptides, lipids, mucins, enzymes and DNA with XPS
 • Advances in XPS instrumentation
 • Advances in sample preparation and characterization of cells, bacteria, and tissue samples with XPS
 • Novel methodologies for interface characterization of biohybrid materials
 • Standard pressure XPS methodologies for the analysis of biomaterials

The Topic Editors would like to acknowledge Professor Patrizia Pagliara and Dr. Maria Addolorata Bonifacio for their contribution to the creation of the image for this Research Topic, respectively by providing the original image of the Arctic microalgal cells, and collaborating in the realization of the final image.

Topic Editor Dr Andreas Thissen is a member of the board of SPECS Surface Nano Analysis GmbH. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject .


Keywords: ESCA, XPS spectroscopy, bio-interfaces, bio-materials, surface analysis


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) is a fundamental method for probing surfaces of biological materials and their interfacial interactions in biotechnological applications. This is due to its ability to characterize the elemental and chemical speciation of virtually any material surface. More specifically, it can be used to identify the chemical functional groups present on surfaces at a sampling depth of ~10 nm. The potential of this technique, as well as its drawbacks, have been mapped out in the large bibliography on the subject, starting from the second half of the 1980s. Recently, technological advances in XPS instrumentation development, designed to enable the characterization of organic and biological samples in a safe environment (i.e., by enabling analyses at pressures far above UHV), have allowed some intrinsic drawbacks to be overcome or mitigated.

This Research Topic aims to highlight advances in XPS--specifically in the analysis of materials of biological and biotechnological interest--by proposing advanced methodologies and approaches. Therefore, the goal is to capture the fast development of new methodologies in the field of bioanalytical analyses, which is becoming increasingly popular. The new generation of XPS spectrophotometers, operating in ultra-high vacuum (UHV), has contributed toward the application of this technique in bioanalytical applications. In this framework, recent developments of new instrumentation working at pressures close to environmental conditions, much more compatible with physiological properties of bioorganic samples, are expected to result in further advances of this technique for biomaterials.

As such, we will cover promising, recent, and novel research trends in analytical methodologies for the chemical characterization of biomaterial surfaces and interfaces based on XPS. We welcome submission of Original Research, Review and Mini Review articles. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:

 • Novel sample preparation and characterization methodologies of biomolecules, such as proteins, peptides, lipids, mucins, enzymes and DNA with XPS
 • Advances in XPS instrumentation
 • Advances in sample preparation and characterization of cells, bacteria, and tissue samples with XPS
 • Novel methodologies for interface characterization of biohybrid materials
 • Standard pressure XPS methodologies for the analysis of biomaterials

The Topic Editors would like to acknowledge Professor Patrizia Pagliara and Dr. Maria Addolorata Bonifacio for their contribution to the creation of the image for this Research Topic, respectively by providing the original image of the Arctic microalgal cells, and collaborating in the realization of the final image.

Topic Editor Dr Andreas Thissen is a member of the board of SPECS Surface Nano Analysis GmbH. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject .


Keywords: ESCA, XPS spectroscopy, bio-interfaces, bio-materials, surface analysis


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

08 January 2021 Manuscript
12 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

08 January 2021 Manuscript
12 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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