Secondary ion mass spectrometry
Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) is a technique used to analyze the composition of solid surfaces and thin films by sputtering the surface of the specimen with a focused primary ion beam and collecting and analyzing ejected secondary ions. The mass/charge ratios of these secondary ions are measured with a mass spectrometer to determine the elemental, isotopic, or molecular composition of the surface to a depth of 1 to 2 nm. Due to the large variation in ionization probabilities among different materials, SIMS is generally considered to be a qualitative technique, although quantification is possible with the use of standards. SIMS is the most sensitive surface analysis technique, with elemental detection limits ranging from parts per million to parts per billion.