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The analytical GD plasma is a dense plasma - about 1014 (charged particles / cm3) – but incident ions bombarding the surface have a low energy – about 50 eV and due to multiple collisions they are not unidirectional. These are the reasons for fast sputtering and excellent depth resolution as well as for low surface damage compared higher energy sputtering ion beams.

In average operating conditions, metals are sputtered at a rate of 1-5 µm / minute. A 100 nm layer could be sputtered in 3s. A thermal treatment on steel in which elements diffuse down to 50 µm could be checked in 10 min.