Time-of-flight elastic recoil detection analysis (ToF-ERDA) is a quantitative material analysis method that gives elemental depth profiles and concentrations of elements in a sample. With ToF-ERDA, it is possible to detect all elements, including hydrogen isotopes.
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Time-of-flight-elastic recoil detection analysis (ToF-ERDA), also known as elastic recoil detection (ERD), elastic recoil scattering (ERS), and forward recoil spectrometry (FRS), is an ion beam analysis (IBA) technique that is used to detect elemental concentrations and compositions in thin layer materials.
ToF-ERDA can detect all elements and distinguish between different isotopes of hydrogen. It can detect concentrations down to 0.1–0.5 atomic percent. ToF-ERDA also gives information about the elemental depth profile of the surface. As a result, it can describe the vertical order and concentrations of the elements. Depth resolutions of 5-20 nm are usually achieved. ToF-ERDA yields quantitative results.
ToF-ERDA uses a heavy ion beam (such as Cl, I, Au) with energies of up to 100 MeV. The energetic ion beam is directed at the sample at a known angle. The beam ionizes the sample atoms and the ions from the sample surface layers recoil in a forward direction. Recoiled ions are then detected.
In ToF- ERDA, the energy and time of flight of the recoil ion are measured simultaneously. Recoiled ions are typically detected with two timing detectors and an energy detector. Filters are used to separate electrons from recoil ions. Time-of-flight is measured with the timing detectors over a fixed distance. The energy detector distinguishes the different masses of the ions. Conversion of time/energy spectra is used to create a depth profile by using the known relationship of energy loss by a unit of length of the ions in the sample.
Suitable sample matrices
- Inorganic samples with a flat surface
- Semiconductor materials
- Thin film materials
Ideal uses of ToF-ERDA
- Elemental analysis and depth profiling of thin films
- Profiling light elements, such as H, B, C, N and O, in thin films
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Frequently asked questions
ToF-ERDA is used to measure elemental concentrations in thin film materials.
It can produce elemental depth profiles with a depth resolution of 5 nm to 20 nm.
To get reliable results, the sample must have a flat surface and roughness of less than 10 nm.
Because of the induced ion beam damage, only inorganic samples can be analyzed.
The depth resolution is 5 nm to 20 nm.
The detection limit is 0.1–0.5 atomic percent. A more sensitive method, such as SIMS, is needed to detect smaller concentrations.
Inorganic materials with a flat surface can be analyzed with ToF-ERDA.
Typical samples are thin film materials, such as ALD films.
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