Surface analysis is the cornerstone of a wide range of scientific disciplines, from materials science and electronics to geology and biology. Still the most sensitive surface analysis technique available, secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) provides localized elemental, isotopic and molecular characterization of the sample surface. It can be applied to any solid material that can be maintained under high vacuum, including insulators, semiconductors, metals and even biological samples.
Dynamic SIMS utilizes a high-dose ion bombardment that erodes successive layers of the sample, providing information about the bulk elemental and isotopic composition over depths that can range from nanometers to tens of micrometers.
This Essential Knowledge Briefing (EKB) introduces dynamic SIMS in greater detail, outlining its advantages over alternative surface analysis techniques, the major components of a typical dynamic SIMS instrument, and how and where it can be used. Four case studies provide examples of how SIMS is used in the real world, by leaders in fields spanning life science, materials science and cosmochemistry. Finally it looks at the future of dynamic SIMS technology, including advances in detection sensitivity and spatial resolution, and discusses directions that will allow the technique to be applied to a wider range of samples than ever before.