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Material analysis


With the study of interactions between high energy ion beams produced by a particles accelerator and target atoms, we are able to identify and determine the total number of atoms in the target in a non destructive way. The different physical processes allow several analysis methods with their own particularity (surface analysis, thickness resolution, determination of low-Z elements, trace element studies).

Usual applications

  • Thin films thickness measurements

The RBS technique allows to calculate the absolute quantity of atoms per square centimeter on the target. With the knowledge of the density, we can access to the physical thickness of the thin layer. Furthermore, if we determine with another technique the physical thickness of material, the RBS measurement allows to access to the density.

Examples : Au/Silicon, WSix/SiO2/Si, NiSix/Si, ZnTe, SrTiO3....

  • Determination of the stoichiometry of the layer

RBS is used to determine the stoichiometry of thin films, but it’s also possible to complete the measurement by another technique. The NRA technique is very useful to determine oxide, fluoride, carbide, or nitride contributions. Otherwise, the PIXE technique is employed to determine heavy elements.

Examples : WNx, TiN, TaN, TaC, Si3N4, SiOC, MgO, InTe, AgInSbTe....

  • Hydrogen quantification

With the ERDA technique, we manage to measure hydrogen in a near-surface of the sample and obtain its exact concentration profile from the first atomic layers until a micrometer fraction. The relative accuracy obtained on the concentration is about 10% and the limit of detection is 0,1%.

Examples : Thin films of carbon DLC, SiOC(H), Si(H).....

  • Surface, interface and multi-layer systems analysis

The thickness resolution and the non-destructive features of the RBS technique are suitable to study diffusion between thin layers, or formation of a thin film oxide on the surface. This is also a helpful method in the field of reverse engineering.

Examples : Arsenic diffusion in silicon substrates, study of an anti-diffusion barrier, optical coatings, structures for information storage.....

  • Lateral resolution analysis

These physical methods could be employed, with a macro or a sub-micron beam. It’s possible to obtain a global information on a few square micrometers surface, or by scanning this zone we can access to an element distribution.

Example: studies of diffusion on different surfaces of the integrated circuit ....