Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
SIMS uses a focused, energetic primary ion beam to bombard the surface of the sample of interest. Sample atoms are sputtered and those that are ionized (secondary ions) are accelerated towards a mass spectrometer where they are mass separated before being detected. Either positive or negative secondary ions are detected.


SIMS SC Ultra from Cameca

SIMS SC Ultra is an ultra-high vacuum (UHV) instrument for the profiling of plane smooth surfaces for the characterisation of the elemental chemical distribution in the depth of material. Offering a large range of impact energies (100eV to 10keV) with high mass resolution and primary beam density, they provide elevated analytical performance for the most challenging applications: extra shallow & high energy implants, ultra-thin nitride oxides, high-k metal gates, SiGe doped layers, Si:C:P structures, PV & LED devices, graphene, etc.

The use of a reactive primary ion beam can increase the secondary ion yield. Oxygen is used to increase positive secondary ion yield and cesium is used to increase negative secondary ion yield. This kind of SIMS is mainly designed to provide depth profiles with depth resolution in the 1 to 10nm range and provides the best detection limits. It can be quantitative when reference samples are used and ppm or even ppb sensitivity can be achieved. Profile depths range from a few tens of nanometers to several tens of microns and any vacuum compatible sample can be analyzed.

Chemical characterization, depth profiling, depth resolution


  • Two sputter ion sources: Cs+ or O2+
  • Floating Cs primary column for low energy negative secondary ion detection
  • Impact energy range: from 100eV to 10keV
  • Electron gun for charge compensation
  • Depth resolution: ≥1nm
  • Mass resolution: ≥20,000 m/Δm
  • Sample size: typically 1×1cm2
  • Analysed area: crater between 50µm to 500µm
  • The analysis is destructive

Ascent+ facility

Platform Technologies

  • Nano for Quantum Technologies
  • Disruptive Devices
  • Advanced Integration

Key Enabling Capability

  • Metrology / Characterisation: Physical

Typical Applications
For any need of a smooth material chemical depth distribution, please contact us.

Additional information

Key Enabling Capability

Metrology / Characterisation

Platform Technology

Advanced Integration, Disruptive Devices, Nano for Quantum Technologies