Plasma Profiling Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (PP-TOFMS)

Depth Profiling Analysis by Plasma Profiling Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry

HORIBA Scientific novel Plasma Profiling TOFMS (PP-TOFMS) instrument provides the chemical composition as a function of depth of solid materials. This depth profiling technique consists of a glow discharge plasma source that erodes and ionizes sample material coupled to an ultra fast time of flight mass spectrometer.

High-throughput and universal depth profiling tool

The high ionic density of the glow discharge plasma results in a high sputtering rate. In addition the pre-analysis time is very much reduced as sample does not need to be transferred to a high vacuum chamber. As a result, sub-micron thin films can be analyzed in a few minutes.

The use of a radio frequency excitation signal allows analysis of all types of inorganic materials ranging from conductive to non-conductive (e.g. thin films on thick glass substrates). A quick sample preparation permits the analysis of coatings on flexible substrates.

High dynamic range

Mass Spectrometry coupled to a high intensity plasma source results in a highly sensitive technique. A 106 dynamic range is reached at the nanometer depth scale. In-depth measurements allow to reach sub ppm sensitivity. In addition, thanks to the separation of sputtering and ionization (low matrix effects), a simple internal calibration calculation results in semi-quantitative results (atomic concentrations in the correct order of magnitude).

Full mass coverage

The great advantage of a time of flight mass analyzer is its capability of recording complete and continuous mass spectra. PP-TOFMS measures a mass spectrum covering all elements of the periodic table every 33 µs. Any element can thus be monitored as a function of erosion time/depth. This means not only zero risk for missing any elemental depth variation but also full probability of detecting the presence of unexpected elements (contamination). Finally all isotopes are recorded, which can be useful in case of isobaric interferences and for studying mechanisms (oxidation, diffusion) through the use of isotopic labeling.


PP-TOFMS depth profiles to validate reference samples for GIXRF-XRR quantitative method

PP-TOFMS depth profiles to validate reference samples for GIXRF-XRR quantitative method

In a recent study published in the Spectrachimica Acta Part B @Elsevier, S. Torrengo and her colleagues from the @CEA-LETI/@ELETTRA/@CEA-LIST built up a reference-based method that is easier to implement in labs and fabs than reference-free methods to monitor the chemical composition of TiWN thin layers. The full mass coverage and homogeneous sensitivity of PP-TOFMS enable to validate reference samples in terms of absence of contamination and interlayer diffusion. PP-TOFMS depth profiles also indicate the presence of composition gradients to define a reasonable starting model.

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PP-TOFMS accelerates development of PCRAM memories

PP-TOFMS is on the cover of the Special Issue ECASIA ’19 of Surface and Interface Analysis with the article entitled “Accelerating the development of phase-change random access memory with in-fab PP-TOFMS”. Nice job from the collaboration with the team of Emmanuel Nolot @CEA-LETI! Results highlight the fast answer potential of PP-TOFMS chemical depth profiling for deploying semiconductors materials.

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HORIBA PP-TOFMS used as a less expensive and less time-consuming tool for LED development @LENA

PP-TOFMS: Less expensive and less time-consuming tool for LED development @LENA

The group of Prof. Bakin in the new facilities of the laboratory for emerging Nanometrology (@LENA in Braunschweig) has adopted PP-TOFMS as the method for obtaining semiconductor elemental profiles for complex III-nitrides multi-quantum well structures and metal contacts…defined as “an extremely rapid alternative method without the expensive and time-consuming sample preparation required for TEM”  in their recent paper.

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Short introduction to PP-TOFMS technique

Plasma Profiling TOFMS video: short introduction to PP-TOFMS technique

PP-TOFMS in the cleanroom of CEA-LETI

Plasma Profiling TOFMS webinar: PP-TOFMS in the cleanroom of CEA-LETI

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