Glow Discharge Mass Spectroscopy (GDMS)

Glow Discharge Mass Spectroscopy
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Glow discharge mass spectrometry (GDMS) provides efficient, direct analysis of trace elements in high-purity, conductive / semiconductive materials.

While it is not uniformly surface-selective, it incorporates time-dependent ablation of surface atomic layers and makes an excellent depth profiling technique for quantifying elemental composition as a function of sputtering depth.

Strengths
  • Element detection range spans the entire periodic table
  • Maximal sensitivity for ultra-trace element detection (low ppb range for most elements)
  • Efficient, accurate bulk chemical composition analysis and depth profiling
  • Minimal matrix dependence improves measurement accuracy with minimal calibration
Limitations
  • Cannot directly characterize non-conducting materials
  • No lateral distribution information
  • Bulk analysis is destructive

Technical Specifications:

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Glow Discharge Mass Spectroscopy (GDMS)
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Sample Requirements
  • Sample cannot be fully insulating
  • Solid phase is standard; liquid/gas phase applications require specialized setup
How GDMS Works

In a GDMS measurement, a low-pressure, glow-discharge (GD) plasma of Argon gas is used as an ionization source. This plasma is generated via induced energy potential difference across a low-pressure gas chamber between two electrodes.

When a conductive, solid sample is exposed to the GD plasma, Ar+ cations accelerate toward its cathodal surface, sputtering both neutral atoms and ions. Eventually, the high energy plasma ionizes all ablated particles, enabling detection by the mass spectrometer (MS).

The MS module uses a quadrupole analyzer to separate the incoming ions by their mass / charge (m/z) ratio, generating a final spectrum of peaks at characteristic masses corresponding to the elements present in the sample surface.

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