Dynamic Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (D-SIMS)

Dynamic Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
D-SIMS depth profile of an Aluminum-Indium-Gallium-Phosphorous LED device. Concentration of each element is correlated to the measured intensity (counts) of selected characteristic secondary ions.

Dynamic secondary ion mass spectroscopy (D-SIMS) is a technique used to analyze very low concentrations of elements in solid surfaces and thin films. The ability to detect up to ppb levels of trace impurities and dopants in solid materials makes D-SIMS the most sensitive surface analytical technique.

Strengths
  • Highest chemical sensitivity for trace elements and molecular fragments among all surface analysis techniques
  • Able to detect all elements H to U!
  • Powerful chemical mapping capability: each pixel in a map and each point in a depth profile contain a full spectrum of all mass peaks which can be selectively extracted
Limitations
  • Not quantitative without calibration to standards / reference of known compositional matrix
  • Chemical bonding information limited to interpolation from molecular fragment types
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Dynamic Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (D-SIMS)
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Example Outputs

D-SIMS depth profile of an Aluminum-Indium-Gallium-Phosphorous LED device. Concentration of each element is correlated to the measured intensity (counts) of selected characteristic secondary ions.

From: Wikipedia commons
Instruments Used for D-SIMS
Cameca IMS-4F SIMS

Cameca IMS-4F SIMS

  • Duoplasmatron ion source (O+ or O- sputtering ions)
  • Cs microbeam ion source
  • Mass-sector analyzer
  • Depth resolutions: < 10 nm
  • Detection limits range: ppm to ppm (4 x 10 16 atoms / cm3)
  • Maximum current: 500 nA
  • Minimum beam diameter: 0.5 um
Sample Requirements
  • Sample must be stable under ultra-high vacuum conditions
  • Solid phase only
How D-SIMS Works

Similar to ToF-SIMS, a D-SIMS system uses an applied beam of energetic sputtering ions or neutral atoms to scatter secondary ion fragments from a sample surface. These secondary ions are then analyzed according to their mass, generating spectra of peaks with characteristic mass / charge (m/z) ratios corresponding to the elements and molecular fragments present.

Unlike in ToF-SIMS, which is considered a static-SIMS technique, dynamic-SIMS measurements ablate substantial quantities of material from the surface. This generates ample signal for measurement and allows D-SIMS to readily quantify chemical composition even buried within the bulk of a sample. D-SIMS can produce acutely sensitive depth profiles of compositional distribution with nm-scale vertical resolution.

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