Plasma profiling Time of flight mass spectrometry

HORIBA Scientific’s novel Plasma Profiling TOFMS (PP-TOFMS) instrument provides the chemical composition as a function of depth of solid materials. This depth profiling technique consists of a glow discharge plasma source that erodes and ionizes sample material coupled to an ultra fast time of flight mass spectrometer.

The high ionic density of the glow discharge plasma results in a high sputtering rate. In addition the pre-analysis time is very much reduced as samples do not need to be transferred to a high vacuum chamber. As a result, sub-micron thin films can be analysed in a few minutes.

The use of a radio frequency excitation signal allows analysis of all types of materials ranging from conductive to non-conductive (e.g. thin films on thick glass substrates) and from inorganic to hybrid. A quick sample preparation permits the analysis of coatings on flexible substrates.

The great advantage of a time of flight mass analyser is its capability of recording complete and continuous mass spectra. PP-TOFMS measures a mass spectrum covering all elements of the periodic table every 33 µs. Any element can thus be monitored as a function of erosion time/depth. This means not only zero risk for missing any elemental depth variation but also full probability of detecting the presence of unexpected elements (contamination). Finally all isotopes are recorded, which can be useful in case of isobaric interferences and for studying mechanisms (oxidation, diffusion) through the use of isotopic labelling.

Key Features

  • Fast and direct analysis with rapid erosion plasma and ultrafast detection
  • All types of materials (conductive and insulating, inorganics, organics, hybrid materials or layers…)
  • Full mass coverage (from 1H to 92U) and molecular information including isotopic monitoring at any depth
  • High depth resolution, layers as thin as 1 nm are measured
  • Layers up to 100 micron can be measured thanks to the high density plasma
  • Semiquantitative calibration free analysis due to minimal matrix effects