Measuring Compositions in Organic Depth Profiling: Results from a VAMAS Interlaboratory Study

Alexander G. Shard, Rasmus Havelund, Steve J. Spencer, Ian S. Gilmore, Morgan R. Alexander, Tina B. Angerer, Satoka Aoyagi, Jean Paul Barnes, Anass Benayad, Andrzej Bernasik, Giacomo Ceccone, Jonathan D.P. Counsell, Christopher Deeks, John S. Fletcher, Daniel J. Graham, Christian Heuser, Tae Geol Lee, Camille Marie, Mateusz M. Marzec, Gautam MishraDerk Rading, Olivier Renault, David J. Scurr, Hyun Kyong Shon, Valentina Spampinato, Hua Tian, Fuyi Wang, Nicholas Winograd, Kui Wu, Andreas Wucher, Yufan Zhou, Zihua Zhu

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51 Scopus citations


We report the results of a VAMAS (Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards) interlaboratory study on the measurement of composition in organic depth profiling. Layered samples with known binary compositions of Irganox 1010 and either Irganox 1098 or Fmoc-pentafluoro-l-phenylalanine in each layer were manufactured in a single batch and distributed to more than 20 participating laboratories. The samples were analyzed using argon cluster ion sputtering and either X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) or time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to generate depth profiles. Participants were asked to estimate the volume fractions in two of the layers and were provided with the compositions of all other layers. Participants using XPS provided volume fractions within 0.03 of the nominal values. Participants using ToF-SIMS either made no attempt, or used various methods that gave results ranging in error from 0.02 to over 0.10 in volume fraction, the latter representing a 50% relative error for a nominal volume fraction of 0.2. Error was predominantly caused by inadequacy in the ability to compensate for primary ion intensity variations and the matrix effect in SIMS. Matrix effects in these materials appear to be more pronounced as the number of atoms in both the primary analytical ion and the secondary ion increase. Using the participants' data we show that organic SIMS matrix effects can be measured and are remarkably consistent between instruments. We provide recommendations for identifying and compensating for matrix effects. Finally, we demonstrate, using a simple normalization method, that virtually all ToF-SIMS participants could have obtained estimates of volume fraction that were at least as accurate and consistent as XPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10784-10797
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 20 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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