Polymeric materials are widely used for structural materials, and coatings in many research and industrial applications. Polymers are often chemically inert and require surface modification to promote properties such as adhesion and wettability. The use of surface analysis instruments to detect and characterize surface modification or contamination of polymer surfaces is critical to the successful end use of many polymeric materials.
Contaminant Identification (XPS, TOF-SIMS)
XPS and TOF-SIMS both have the ability to locate and chemically characterize contaminants on a polymer surface. XPS surface analysis instruments provide quantitative chemical state information and TOF-SIMS analysis equipment provides molecular information that may lead to the identification of a specific substance as the contaminant.
Fig. 1: An x-ray beam induced secondary electron image indicates the presence of a contaminant on a polymer surface. Carbon 1s XPS spectra show the compositional difference between the PET substrate and the fluorocarbon contaminant.
C60 sputter depth profiling of polymer films and surfaces (XPS, TOF-SIMS)
Historically XPS and TOF-SIMS surface analysis techniques have been limited to characterizing polymer surfaces. Recently C60 sputtering has been shown to be very effective for removing surface contaminants and sputtering through polymer films while causing minimal chemical damage.
Fig. 2: A C60 sputter depth profile through a wax layer on polyurethane shows the ability to sputter through organic and polymer materials without causing significant chemical damage to the materials.