ToF-S-SIMS molecular 3D analysis of micro-objects as an alternative to ion beam erosion at large depth : application to single inkjet dots
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry. - Berlin, 2002, currens
, p. 2053-2064
University of Antwerp
Molecular depth profiling is needed to develop high-tech materials optimised to the μm or even up to the nm scale. Recent progress in time-of-flight static secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-S-SIMS) offers perspectives to molecular depth profiling. However, at this moment, the methodology is not yet capable to deal with a range of materials science applications because of the limited depth range, the loss of intensity in the subsurface and the loss of depth resolution at large distances from the original surface. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to develop a complementary approach for the molecular 3D analysis at large depth, using a combination of ultra-low angle microtomy (ULAM) and surface analysis of the sectioned material with ToF-S-SIMS. Single inkjet dots with a diameter of 100 μm and height of 22 μm on a PET substrate have been used as a test system for the methodology. It is demonstrated that the use of a diamond knife allows the molecular composition and distribution of components within the microscopic feature to be probed with a lateral resolution of 300 nm. Hence the methodology approaches the physical limit for ion imaging of organic components with local concentrations in the % range. In practice, the achievable depth resolution with ULAM-S-SIMS is ultimately limited by the surface roughness of the section. Careful optimisation of the ULAM step has resulted in a surface roughness within 6 nm (R a value) at a depth of 21 μm. This offers perspective to achieve 3D analysis with a depth resolution as good as 18 nm at such a large distance from the surface. Furthermore, the ULAM-S-SIMS approach is applicable to materials unamenable to ion beam erosion. However, the method is limited to dealing with, for instance, Si or glass substrates that cannot be sectioned with a microtomy knife. Furthermore, sufficient adhesion between stacked layers or between the coating and substrate is required. However, it is found that the approach is applicable to a wide variety of industrially important (multi)layers of polymers on a polymer substrate.