Time of Flight – Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS)

ToF-SIMS is a mass spectrometry applied to the surface of a solid material. By measuring the mass (m/z) of the ions emitted after spraying the material, its (isotopic, elemental and/or molecular) composition is determined to a depth of about 1 nm. Thanks to the molecular information, ToF-SIMS enables the determination of the family of organic compounds present, and even the identification of certain molecules (contaminations, additives,...). The detection sensitivity can go down to 1 atomic ppm. For a sample analyzed alone, the information is only qualitative on the secondary ions. However, for chemically close samples, these can be studied by comparing intensities.

Apart from surface characterization, there is another method which consists in coupling surface analysis with an ion-abrasion beam allowing to carry out an in-depth elementary analysis profile (probable thickness: approximately 2 µm).


  • Detection sensitivity: up to ppm.
  • Analysis of molecular monolayer.
  • Verification of the quality of a surface functionalization or of a very thin coating.
  • Identification of chemical pollution on the surface or at the interfaces responsible for adhesion problems (gluing, paint, varnish, ...).
  • Detection of additives