The provision of accurate composition-depth profiles is important in
the investigation and characterization of thin and thick films, surface
coatings, surface treatments and many other technological applications.
Such profiles are normally obtained using a combination of sputter ion
etching and surface analytical techniques. However, there are problems
with this approach, particularly at depths greater than 1μm, since surfaces
are generally eroded in a non-uniform way. Profiles to these depths are
best achieved by using Auger electron spectroscopy in combination with a
technique for mechanically tapering the specimen surface. Ball-cratering,
which employs a rotating steel ball coated in fine diamond paste to abrade.
a well-defined spherical crater in the surface, is shown to be a convenient
and accurate method. [Continues.]
A Master's Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy at Loughborough University.
Loughborough University. Science and Engineering Research Council and National Physical Laboratory (CASE award).