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Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS)


ToF-SIMS provides 2/3-dimensional spatial distributions of both elements and chemical compounds (through the analysis of molecular ions) on virtually each kind of solid materials, i.e. with no limitations with respect to insulating, organic or easily damaged samples. Wide applications of the technique are therefore found in the analysis of polymers (the packaging industry is perhaps the leading example in this respect), organic materials, biological samples, that is all those areas which are not or only hardly accessible to the traditional mass spectrometric techniques.

Time of Flight based instrument for Static and Pseudo-dynamic SIMS analyses. The instrument is equipped with liquid metal Ga gun as primary beam for analyses, Ar/O2/Cs auxiliary beams for sputtering, heatable/coolable stage and electron flood for charge compensation. A lateral resolution in the sub-micrometer range can be typically achieved during analyses. Special attention is dedicated to the investigation of materials and topics relevant in microelectronic technology, with emphasis on the characterization of small structures.


Instrument at FBK

IONTOF IV (operating since 1994)

Ion sources


Impact energy


Ion sputtering

Cesium and Oxygen (1-10 keV)

Mass resolution M/δM


Mass range

Typically 10.000 (no limit)

Spatial resolution


Charge compensation

an electron gun is provided


Reflectron parallel detection

Depth resolution

1-3 monolayers (static mode)

Detection limit

B, P and As <1015 at/cm3