Strong-field photoionization of sputtered neutral molecules for molecular depth profiling

D. Willingham, D. A. Brenes, A. Wucher, N. Winograd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Molecular depth profiles of an organic thin film of guanine vapor deposited onto a Ag substrate are obtained using a 40 keV C60+ cluster ion beam in conjunction with time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometric (ToF-SIMS) detection. Strong-field, femtosecond photoionization of intact guanine molecules is used to probe the neutral component of the profile for direct comparison with the secondary ion component. The ability to simultaneously acquire secondary ions and photoionized neutral molecules reveals new fundamental information about the factors that influence the properties of the depth profile. Results show that there is an increased ionization probability for protonated molecular ions within the first 10 nm due to the generation of free protons within the sample. Moreover, there is a 50% increase in fragment ion signal relative to steady state values 25 nm before reaching the guanine/Ag interface as a result of interfacial chemical damage accumulation. An altered layer thickness of 20 nm is observed as a consequence of ion beam induced chemical mixing. In general, we show that the neutral component of a molecular depth profile using the strong-field photoionization technique can be used to elucidate the effects of variations in ionization probability on the yield of molecular ions as well as to aid in obtaining accurate information about depth dependent chemical composition that cannot be extracted from ToF-SIMS data alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5391-5399
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number12
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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