Influence of discharge parameters on the resolution of depth profiling by pulsed glow discharge atomic emission spectrometry
Investigations have been performed using microsecond pulsed glow discharge atomic emission spectrometry (GD-AES) to determine the effect of the glow discharge parameters, including applied pulse voltage, pulse width, pulse frequency and gas pressure, on the resolution of depth profiling. The results indicate that a concave crater profile is obtained for low voltage, whereas the curvature is convex for high voltage. The criteria of a flat crater bottom and good depth resolution are fulfilled only with a limited range of voltages at each operating pressure. The results also imply that the pulse frequency and pulse width have little effect on the resolution of depth profiling; thus a wide dynamic range of layers from several nanometers to tens of micrometers can be analyzed by increasing or decreasing the pulse frequency and width. Under the optimized parameters, a thin coating of Cu (50 nm) on steel, an electroplated steel and a computer hard-disk with multiple thin layers were analyzed.