Molecular depth profiling of polymers with very low energy ions

L. Houssiau, B. Douhard, N. Mine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The need for a molecular depth profiling technique to study organic layers has become a strong incentive in the SIMS community in the last few years, especially with the recent successes obtained with cluster ion beam depth profiling. In this work, we have investigated a thoroughly different approach by using very low energy (down to 200 eV) monoatomic or diatomic ions to sputter organic matter. Quite surprisingly, we were able to retain specific molecular information on various polymers even at very high fluence. Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) films were depth-profiled with 200 eV Cs and 500 eV O ions. With 200 eV Cs ions, the best profiles were obtained in the negative mode, due to a strong negative ionisation yield enhancement related to Cs retention in the polymer. A relatively high and stable signal from the most characteristic ions was measured all over the layer. With 500 eV O, real molecular depth-profiles were also obtained in both the positive and the negative modes. Once again, the main characteristic fragments of PET or PMMA remain detectable with stable yields all over the profile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-972
Number of pages3
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2008


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