Depth profile studies of ZrTiN coatings by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

Kanick�, Viktor; Kuhn, Hans-Rudolf; Guenther, Detlef
September 2004
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Sep2004, Vol. 380 Issue 2, p218
Academic Journal
The feasibility of depth profiling was studied by using a 193-nm ArF* excimer laser ablation system (GeoLas, MicroLas, Goettingen, Germany) with a lens array-based beam homogenizer in combination with an ICP-QMS Agilent 7500. Two ablation cells (20 and 1.5 cm3) were compared at the laser repetition rate of 1 Hz, laser beam energy of 135 mJ and the carrier gas flow rate 1.5 L min-1 He + 0.78 L min-1 Ar. The ablation cell dimensions are important parameters for signal tailing; however, very small cell volumes (e.g. 1.5 cm3) may cause memory effects, which can be probably explained by dominant inertial losses of aerosol on cell walls with its delayed mobilization. The 20-cm3 ablation cell seems to be appropriate for depth profiling by continuous single-hole drilling. The study of the influence of the pit diameter magnitude on the waning and emerging signals under small crater depth/diameter aspect ratios, which range between 0.75 and 0.0375 for the 3-�m-thick coatings and pit diameters 4-80 �m, revealed that the steady-state signals of pure coating and pure substrate (out of interface) were obtained at crater diameters between 20 and 40 �m. Depth resolution defined by means of slopes of tangents in the layer interface region depend on the pit diameter and has an optimum value between 20 and 40 �m and gives 0.6 �m for the 20-�m pit. In-depth variation of concentration of coating constituent (Ti) was proved to be almost identical with two different laser/ICP systems.


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