Thin Film Analysis

XPS Analysis (10 nm depth, elemental and chemical bond analysis):

  • Surface chemistry and film stoichiometry, especially subject to variation for sputtered or CVD films
  • Elemental composition as a function of depth, useful to examine multilayer film structures such as anti-reflective coatings, metallization layers on ceramics for brazing, or coatings such as TiN on biomedical devices
  • Interface contamination
  • Surface hydration measurements
  • Failure analysis of delamination problems
  • Determine whether film layers have reacted or boundaries are sharp
  • Diffusion as a function of temperature in vacuum
  • Reaction of discrete film with other layers or with substrate as a function of temperature, such as due to brazing or soldering
  • Reaction of film or multilayered film with heating in various gases
  • Surface analysis of polymers, but cannot perform ion etching analysis of polymers

FTIR Analysis (1 – 2 micrometer depth, chemical bond analysis):

  • Detect and identify thin organic or polymer film on metal or semiconductor surface
  • Identify thin organic film used to prevent reactions of a thin film structure with the environment as in corrosion
  • Identify plastic or polymer with metallization film

Thin Film Thickness Measurements:

Surface Roughness:

  • Substrate surface structure analysis or profilometry
  • Nucleating growth of film
  • Film as deposited
  • Oxidized or reacted film
  • Columnar growth surface porosity

Reactivity of Thin Film:

  • TGA measurement of film weight gain due to reaction with gas as temperature is increased
  • TGA testing of oxidation protection offered to substrate material by thin film or test for reactivity at higher temperatures and examine by XPS afterward
  • DSC measurement of exothermal heat of reaction due to reaction of film with substrate or with other layers in multilayer structures, such as for intermetallic phase formation
  • DSC measurement of endothermal heat of melting or of crystalline phase changes
  • DSC measurement of exothermal heat of reaction with heating in a gas
  • XPS substrate element diffusion through film to surface in active atmosphere conditions or upon heating
  • Multilayer film interlayer reactions by depth profile XPS with exception of polymers

Electrochemical and Corrosion Testing:

  • Corrosion rate measurement for metal films
  • Pitting potential measurement for metal films
  • Pin-hole detection for all films
  • EIS to determine changes of thin film capacitance or resistance which measure water and ion ingression

Cross Section Analysis:

  • Thickness measurement
  • Grain size and orientation
  • Detection of inclusions
  • Uniformity
  • Observable phases (carbides, intermetallic phases, graphite micro clusters, etc.)

Adhesion Failures:

  • Failure analysis of peeled or delaminated thin film for locus of failure and detection of contamination, hydration, reacted layer, or other causes of failure using XPS and FTIR
  • Examination with metallographic microscopy or SEM to determine mode and locus of failure