Particle – matter interactions for ion microscopy

Optimization of sensitivity and quantification in SIMS

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) is a well-established and extremely powerful technique for the chemical analysis of surfaces and thin films. Its main advantages are:

  • its excellent sensitivity
  • its high dynamic range
  • its good mass resolution
  • its ability to distinguish between isotopes.

The use of cesium can dramatically increase the sensitivity of the analysis. We have therefore developed an add-on Cs deposition system allowing the sample surface to be coated with Cs prior to or during SIMS analysis for the purpose of optimizing analytical performances. This system presents several advantages, including:

  • increased sensitivities in the negative secondary ion mode (ionization probabilities of 100% for elements with high electron affinities)
  • minimization or elimination of the matrix effect in the negative secondary ion mode
  • optimization of the sensitivities in the MCsx+ mode for efficient elimination of the matrix effect.

Contact: Patrick PHILIPP

Investigation of particle – matter interactions

For ion-beam-based microscopy, the development of new instruments, methods and applications requires the control of processes and mechanisms like particle sputtering and ionization. We are therefore investigating particle – surface interactions by:

  • experimental studies
  • numerical simulations:

    • Monte Carlo based on binary collision approximation
    • Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations
    • Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations.

The different aspects that are explored include:

  • damage formation
  • sputtering
  • properties of ejected matter (e.g. energy and angular distributions)
  • atomic mixing
  • ionization of sputtered matter
  • influence of surface contaminations
  • etc.

Contact: Patrick PHILIPP


Research domains
  • Materials

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