Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS)

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) detects very low concentrations of dopants and impurities. The technique provides elemental depth profiles over a wide depth range from a few angstroms (Å) to tens of micrometers (µm). The sample surface is sputtered/etched with a beam of primary ions, (usually O2+ or Cs+) while secondary ions formed during the sputtering process are extracted and analyzed using a mass spectrometer (quadrupole, magnetic sector or Time of flight). The secondary ions can range in concentration from matrix levels down to sub-ppm trace levels.

EAG is the industry standard for SIMS analysis, offering the best detection limits, along with accurate concentration and layer structure identification. EAG’s depth and scope of experience and commitment to research and development in the SIMS field is unrivaled. EAG has the largest range of Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry instruments worldwide (more than 40), staffed by exceptionally qualified scientists. EAG also has the world’s largest reference material library of ion-implanted and bulk-doped standards for accurate SIMS quantification.

Ideal Uses of SIMS

  • Dopant and impurity depth profiling
  • Composition and impurity measurements of thin films (metals, dielectrics, SiGe, III-V, and II-VI materials)
  • Ultra-high depth resolution profiling of shallow implants and ultra-thin films
  • Bulk analyses including B, C, O and N in Si
  • High-precision matching of process tools such as ion implanters or epitaxial reactors

Strengths

  • Excellent detection for dopants and impurities with ppm or lower detection sensitivity
  • Depth profiles with excellent detection limits and depth resolution
  • Small-area analysis (1-10 µm)
  • Detection of all elements and isotopes, including H
  • Excellent dynamic range (up to 6 orders of magnitude)
  • Stoichiometry/composition possible in some applications

Limitations

  • Destructive
  • No chemical bonding information
  • Sample must be solid and vacuum compatible

SIMS Technical Specifications

  • Signal Detected: Secondary ions
  • Elements Detected: H-U including isotopes
  • Detection Limits: >1E10 to 1E16 atoms/cm3
  • Depth Resolution: >5 Å
  • Imaging/Mapping: Yes
  • Lateral Resolution/Probe Size: ≥10 µm (depth profiling); 1 µm (imaging mode)

EAG’s SIMS scientists are specially trained and adept at understanding our client’s analytical needs and optimizing analyses to most effectively address their concerns and interests. Today, SIMS analysis is used to help customers across a variety of industries for research and development, quality control, failure analysis, troubleshooting and process monitoring. EAG provides personal service throughout the process to allow a complete understanding of the SIMS lab test results.

SIMS Tutorial: Instrumentation

SIMS Tutorial: Theory

SIMS detection limits of selected elements

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