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In the ever-evolving landscape of ion beam-assisted manufacturing technologies, precise characterisation of ion sources is pivotal. A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physics highlights the critical role of the Hiden EQP mass spectrometer in the detailed analysis of an RF-excited broad-beam ion source, emphasizing its indispensability for ultra-precise manufacturing processes.

The Role of Hiden EQP in Ion Source Characterisation

The study, titled Characterization of an RF-excited broad-beam ion source [1], demonstrates the advanced capabilities of the Hiden EQP (Energy-resolved Quadrupole Plasma) mass spectrometer. This sophisticated tool was integral in measuring the ion energy distribution functions (IEDFs) and mass spectra of ions generated by the RF-type ion beam source.

Key Features of the Hiden EQP

  1. Energy Resolution: The Hiden EQP allows for the detection of ions with energies up to 100 eV per unit charge. This high level of energy resolution is crucial for understanding the energy dynamics of ions in the beam.
  2. Mass Range: It can analyse ions with masses ranging from 1 to 500 amu per unit charge, providing comprehensive insights into the ion composition.
  3. Differential Pumping: The EQP’s ability to perform differential pumping ensures accurate measurements by maintaining optimal vacuum conditions.

IEDs for different O-containing ion species

IEDs for different O-containing ion species from an RF excited beam of 1:1 CHF3:O2. The fragments are either originating directly from the injected process gas or may be erosion or reaction products from the Si plasma discharge vessel or the graphite extraction system.

Applications in Advanced Manufacturing

The insights gained from using the Hiden EQP are instrumental in several high-precision applications:

  • Surface Smoothing: The detailed energy and mass analysis aids in achieving sub-angstrom surface roughness, essential for high-end optical components and semiconductor devices.
  • Nanostructuring: The characterisation helps in optimizing processes for nanostructuring techniques based on self-organization.
  • Reactive Ion Beam Etching: The data supports the development of precise etching processes for manufacturing optical systems and high-power laser components.


The Hiden EQP mass spectrometer stands out as a crucial tool for researchers and manufacturers aiming for unparalleled precision in ion beam processes. Its role in the study underscores its value in advancing ion source characterisation, thereby pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in ultra-precise manufacturing.

For more detailed insights, refer to the full study here or visit our EQP product page. You can also  send us an email to

Reference: [1] Rohkamm, Erik; Spemann, Daniel; Scholze, Frank; Frost, Frank, “Characterization of an RF-excited broad beam ion source operated with a mixture of CHF3 and O2”  Journal of Applied Physics (2024) 135, 223303