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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, segregants, 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 the 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 of industrial applications including: semiconductor device fabrication, hard disk read/write head and magnetic media fabrication, specialty mirrors, composite materials, etc.

Surface analysis measurements provide a means to correlate performance with surface or thin film composition. This knowledge can be used to accelerate the development of new materials or to improve the performance of existing materials systems.

Energy

Energy

Physical Electronics XPS, AES, and SIMS surface analysis instruments are playing a critical role in understanding efficiency and lifetime issues related to energy conversion devices, energy storage devices (batteries), and many energy saving technologies.

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Medical

Medical

Physical Electronics XPS and TOF-SIMS instruments are routinely used to characterize the surfaces of implantable medical devices, study the release of drugs from delivery platforms, and more recently to support basic medical research with TOF-SIMS characterization of tissue sections.

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Polymers

Polymers

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 PHI XPS and TOF-SIMS instruments to detect and characterize surface modification or contamination of polymer surfaces is critical to the successful end use of many polymeric materials.

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Thin Films

Thin Films

Thin films and coatings are used or applied to an almost limitless range of applications to provide a specific performance characteristic for a broad range of industrial products. These include coatings that provide antistatic properties, corrosion resistance, reduce wear, and promote adhesion; as well as thin films for optical devices, mirrors, semiconductor devices, magnetic media, food wrap, etc.

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Metallurgy

Metallurgy

Corrosion and wear, and coatings to prevent corrosion and wear are often studied by XPS to provide quantitative chemical state information and by TOF-SIMS to provide molecular identification if organic materials are involved.

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Magnetic Media

Magnetic Media

Surface analysis techniques are ideally suited to characterize the nanometer protective coatings and magnetic layers that make up today’s magnetic media. In addition to characterizing the magnetic media, surface analysis equipment plays a key role in the development of read/write heads and the detection and characterization of contaminants on components throughout the disk drive.

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Microelectronics

Microelectronics

Microelectronic devices typically consist of a series of thin films that have been patterned to produce a device. The use of surface analysis instruments to characterize the composition of thin films or patterned structures and detect contaminants or process residues is critical to the development of new materials, manufacturing processes, and increasing product yield.

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