It is hard to believe that it has been more than a year since we took delivery of our new ToF-SIMS instrument!
The main difference in the new instrument, vs. the older instrument (which will be 10 years old on Sun Sept 11) is the low energy, high current density ion source which we utilize for erosion of material during dual beam depth profile measurements. The low energy feature of the ion source has allowed us to successfully depth profile through certain organic structures/interfaces with less degradation of the molecular structure. The high current density has enabled us to erode to a depth of about 40 microns during an overnight depth profile analysis with surprisingly good depth resolution (the erosion rate of this material was very high). CdTe based solar materials still remains a very hot topic at our facility and the faster erosion has enabled us to measure 3D depth profiles in a fraction of the time, which has resulted in more data sets that need to be carefully analyzed on a weekly basis, data work up is now our rate limiting step! The 3D ToF-SIMS depth profile analysis allows us to measure contaminants both within the films and at the various interfaces.
Exciting developments are taking place in the field of ToF-SIMS, including new ion sources with a smaller spot size and higher sensitivity; these will be discussed at SIMS XVIII which will take place Sept 18-23 in Trentino Italy. Unfortunately, I will not be attending SIMS XVIII.
Previously I mentioned that Albany NY region had the highest number of IonTof ToF-SIMS instruments in one metropolitan area with a quantity of 3 and that NY had the highest population by state with a quantity of 9. Another instrument was recently installed at GlobalFoundries hence both of these numbers increased.