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Process and development contamination is a far-reaching issue that can damage products in any sector. Surface topographies and internal compositions of materials can be altered through contamination by gases, vapors, liquids, or undesirable particulates, which can lead to critical product failure.

Contaminant analysis through mass spectrometry methods is critical for process control and method development in a massive range of sectors, providing accurate insights into the origin and concentration of contaminant elements within a sample by assessing the uppermost layers of an analyte or monitoring residual gases in a quadrupole sample chamber. Typical contaminant species such as air, water (H2O), and various hydrocarbons can be easily identified using Hiden quadrupole mass spectrometers equipped to perform surface analysis or residual gas analysis.

Contaminant Analysis

This article will explore the use of mass spectrometers for contaminant analysis in further detail, with a focus on surface profiling for detecting contaminant species:

Contaminant Analysis of Surface Layers

Measuring the uppermost chemical layers of a material is an established process control methodology for analyzing a sample’s atomic composition and identifying contaminant elements and impurities. These depth profiles are acquired using an ionic beam that sweeps or raster scans an analyte with a spot of micrometer (μm) dimensions. The interaction between these ions and the material’s surface composition is detected using advanced optical extraction components and leading-edge software for chemically-mapping the first few nanomolecular layers of the sample.

The Hiden SIMS Workstation is a comprehensive solution for contaminant analysis of an analyte’s surface layers, with a standard setup comprising a multi-function ultra-high vacuum (UHV) chamber, a sensitive spectrometer and an IG20 argon or oxygen ion gun. The MAXIM quadruple analyzer equipped as-standard to SIMS workstations can perform positive, negative, static, dynamic, and neutral analysis of ionized samples with mass range options from 300 amu – 1,000 amu, and up to 5,000 amu for cluster analysis.

Our SIMS product range also includes the Hiden Compact SIMS tool, which was manufactured for accurate and rapid assessment of the upper layer structures of an analyte for impurity identification. The primary oxygen ion beam supports the sensitive detection of positive ions with high isotopic sensitivity for every element on the periodic table. This ion gun geometry can provide near-perfect surface layer analysis with nanometer (nm) depth resolution.

Contaminant Analysis with Hiden Analytical

At Hiden Analytical, we offer a bespoke development service to resolve unique client-specific requirements. With decades of experience developing and supplying cutting-edge mass spectrometry equipment for leading technology and development industries, we are prepared to meet your contaminant analysis requirements.

Find out more about process control and contamination monitoring with residual gas analyzers (RGAs), or if you would like any more information about performing contaminant analysis with Hiden Analytical SIMS equipment, please do not hesitate to contact us.