SIMS. Strengths, Limitations


  • High detection sensitivities (ppm and better)
  • Depth profiles with high depth resolution (5 nm) and low detection limits
  • Detection of all elements in the mass range from 1H to 238U
  • High lateral resolution (1 µm)
  • High signal dynamics (6 orders of magnitude)


  • Destruction of the sample surface
  • Mixing and recoil processes
  • Topographical effects, surface roughness
  • High variation of ionisation cross sections
  • Matrix dependence of detection sensitivities
  • No information about chemical bonds
  • Solid and vacuum resistant samples are required