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Anal Chem. 2010 Jan 1;82(1):98-105. doi: 10.1021/ac901045q.

Organic depth profiling of a nanostructured delta layer reference material using large argon cluster ions.

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National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LW, United Kingdom.


Cluster ion beams have revolutionized the analysis of organic surfaces in time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry and opened up new capabilities for organic depth profiling. Much effort has been devoted to understanding the capabilities and improving the performance of SF(5)(+) and C(60)(n+), which are successful for many, but not all, organic materials. Here, we explore the potential of organic depth profiling using novel argon cluster ions, Ar(500)(+) to Ar(1000)(+). We present results for an organic delta layer reference sample, consisting of ultrathin "delta" layers of Irganox 3114 (approximately 2.4 nm) embedded between thick layers of Irganox 1010 (approximately 46 or 91 nm). This indicates that, for the reference material, major benefits can be obtained with Ar cluster ions, including a constant high sputtering yield throughout a depth of approximately 390 nm, and an extremely low sputter-induced roughness of <5 nm. Although the depth resolution is currently limited by an instrumental artifact, and may not be the best attainable, these initial results strongly indicate the potential to achieve high depth resolution and suggest that Ar cluster ions may have a major role to play in the depth profiling of organic materials.

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