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SIMS21, Poland 2017 - Sarah Fearn abstract

Sarah Fearn oral presentation (PB1-Mon2-1-3)

High Five: Simultaneous positive and negative UHV SIMS with plasma FIB primary and ‘in-operando’ experimentation.

Sarah Fearn1, Richard J Chater2, Ainara Aguadero2, Graham A Cooke3, Noel Smith4

1 Department of Materials - Imperial College, Prince Consort Rd, SW7 2AZ London, United Kingdom
2 Department of Materials - Imperial College, Prince Consort Rd, SE19 1LP London, United Kingdom
3 Hiden Analytical, 410 Europe Blvd, WA5 7UN Warrington, United Kingdom
4 Oregon Physics, 19075 NW Tanasbourne Dr, OR OR 97124 Hillsboro, United States


A new SIMS instrument is described that provides nano-analytical dynamic secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) measurements at multi-scale lengths from nm’s to several 100 microns by using a novel gas plasma focused ion-beam source and column (PFIB). This configuration is unique as both positive and negative SIMS compositional information is recorded simultaneously by two synchronised quadrupole mass (QMS) filter detectors. The highest compositional sensitivities and lateral resolution for SIMS instruments are achieved because of the ultra-high vacuum (UHV) environment and filtered oxygen primary beam, O2+, from the PFIB source and column with a spot size <25nm. In-situ conditioning of samples during SIMS analysis include the use of electrical biasing with probes and temperature control from cryogenic to 300 C. Microstructural analysis for non-destructive site selection and non-destructive identification is provided by e-beam SE and BSE imaging. Within the same vacuum envelope, optical topography assessment is achieved by interferometer imaging. Connected preparation and entry chambers mirror these ‘in-situ’ sample conditioning capabilities during analysis and include extra gas atmosphere control suitable for trace isotope labelling by annealing. Dry sample transfer is included for air sensitive/frozen samples with transfer facilities between dry boxes and other analytical instrumentation (SEM, Atom Probe, Electron Microscopes).

This equipment is designed to enable research in the key theme areas of Energy conversion and storage, aerospace and nuclear advanced alloys, information storage and micro-electronics and healthcare technologies. A consortium of research groups at IC, UCL, KCL and QUB with current research programs working in these topic themes have been funded through the Strategic Equipment funding scheme of EPSRC for this bespoke, innovative instrument sited at IC to enable the current limitations to be overcome. This contribution will focus on describing configuration and specifications of the new SIMS instrument. It will include the outlines of the research programs of the consortium at IC and details of both UK and international access.