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Emission Spectrographic Analysis of Surfaces with an Ion-sputtering Source

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An ion-sputtering source was installed and evaluated as an emission spectrographic source for the analysis of metal surfaces and for the determination of in-depth concentration profiles. This source generates a direct current glow discharge in a low-pressure argon atmosphere between a hollow stainless-steel anode and the sample (the cathode) and sputters material at a controlled rate from the sample surface. The resultant spectrum of the sputtered material is recorded photographically, and the analysis is completed by conventional spectrographic techniques. The power supply of the source can be operated in either a constant dc mode or a square-wave dc mode, but better repeatability and accuracy have been achieved with the square-wave dc mode. Before any significant sputtering occurs with this source, the voltage must exceed 240 Volts, the threshold sputtering voltage. The sputtering rate increases with both source current and voltage. This source has been used for the quantitative analysis of the surface of steel products and the determination of changes in composition with depth below the surface.

Keywords: Analysis of surfaces; Emissions spectroscopy; Methods, analytical

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: United States Steel Corporation Research Laboratory, 125 Jamison Lane, Monroeville, Pennsylvania 15146

Publication date: September 1, 1976

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