Molecular depth profiling with cluster ion beams

Juan Cheng, Andreas Wucher, Nicholas Winograd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


Peptide-doped trehalose thin films have been characterized by bombardment with energetic cluster ion beams of C60+ and Au x+ (x = 1, 2, 3). The aim of these studies is to acquire information about the molecular sputtering process of the peptide and trehalose by measurement of secondary ion mass spectra during erosion. This system is important since uniform thin films of ∼300 nm thickness can be reproducibly prepared on a Si substrate, allowing detailed characterization of the resulting depth profile with different projectiles. The basic form of the molecular ion intensity as a function of ion dose is described by a simple analytical model. The model includes parameters such as the molecular sputtering yield, the damage cross section of the trehalose or the peptide, and the thickness of a surface layer altered by the projectile. The results show that favorable conditions for successful molecular depth profiling are achieved when the total sputtering yield is high and the altered layer thickness is low. Successful molecular depth profiles are achieved with all of the cluster projectiles, although the degree of chemical damage accumulation was slightly lower with C60 With C60 bombardment, the altered layer thickness of about 20 nm and the damage cross section of about 5 nm2 are physically consistent with predictions of molecular dynamics calculations available for similar chemical systems. In general, the model presented should provide guidance in optimizing experimental parameters for maximizing the information content of molecular depth profiling experiments with complex molecular thin film substrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8329-8336
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 27 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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