Time-of-Flight Secondary Ions Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS)


PCBM/CyI molecular blend for organic solar cell application. Study of the conformation of the blend. Image 10x10um2, sample from Lab209, Empa.


Multi-phases cement clinker with superplasticizer polymer surface additive. Study of the polymer attachment at the surface. Image 200x200um2, sample from Lab308, Empa.

Fish cell imaged with secondary electrons (SE) and secondary ions (SI). Study of silver nanoparticles location. Image 200x200um2, sample from UTOX, EAWAG.




Time-of-Flight Secondary Ions Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) is a versatile mass spectrometric technique that provides detailed information on the chemical composition of the uppermost monolayers of a surface. The Time-of-Flight detection system offers the parallel detection of all elements, isotopes, full molecules and molecular fragments present at the surface (spectra), with a high mass resolution and an ultra-high sensitivity, down to the ppm range. The acquisition of images can be achieved by scanning the area of interest, with a lateral resolution in the range of 100 to 200 nm and a complete spectrum recorded at every pixel of the image. Layer-by-layer erosion is also possible, allowing the profiling of chemical species in the depth of the sample, with a depth resolution in the nanometer range. 3D chemical analysis can be performed on heterogeneous structures or micro-devices with the full spectral information at every voxel, further strengthened by the retrospective analysis capabilities, where spectra and images can be reconstructed from any user-defined region and for every mass of interest from the stored data.

This technique can be used for virtually all kinds of conductive and non-conductive solid materials. The group activities include collaborative fundamental and applied research on non-organic devices, construction materials, polymer blends, bio-materials, etc., as well as technology development and services for industry.