Why is surface analysis important?
The composition of the outer most atomic layers of a material plays a critical role in properties such as: chemical activity, adhesion, wettability, electrostatic behavior, corrosion resistance, bio-compatibility, etc. In addition, contaminants, process residues, diffusion products, and impurities are typically present at the surface of solid samples or at the interfaces of thin film structures.
The ability to characterize thin film structures, via sputter depth profiling, provides a unique opportunity to examine materials used in thin layers and to study their interaction with materials in adjacent layers.
The ability to analyze sub-micron features, defects, or particulate contaminants is of critical importance to increasing product yield in a number industrial applications including: semiconductor device fabrication, hard disk read/write head fabrication, specialty mirrors, composite materials, etc.
Surface analysis techniques are routinely applied to a broad range of materials systems and high technology industrial products. The following examples illustrate some of the uses of modern surface analysis instruments: