Glow discharge optical emission spectrometry elemental mapping with restrictive anode array masks†
Large-area surface elemental mapping is highly beneficial for a multitude of applications in fields from materials science to biology. Current typical methods, however, suffer from long acquisition times. Glow Discharge Optical Emission Spectrometry (GDOES), under pulsed-power and higher pressure operation, exhibits a great potential for ultrahigh throughput chemical imaging of large surface area samples. Up until now, various proof-of-principle studies of GDOES elemental mapping have only been applied to smaller surface area samples. Thus, there is a need for development of GDOES systems that allow for analysis of large area samples. Here, the design of different GD configurations for large area sample (10 cm diameter) analysis is investigated as a function of operating conditions such as pressure (133–4000 Pa), applied power (up to 5 kW), and pulsing. An open face electrode (OFE) design generated undesirable heterogeneous plasma at the higher pressures required for achieving spatial resolution. On the other hand, a restrictive anode array mask (RAAM) design provided notable homogeneity within the same pressure range and enabled the lateral resolution of 1 mm diameter silver inclusions embedded in copper. RAAMS were designed varying thickness (3 mm and 12 mm), aperture size (4, 6, 8 mm), geometry, and grounding. Also, as the section sputtered is restricted to the area covered by the apertures, the RAAM provides the opportunity for subsequent analysis of the unsputtered regions via alternative methods. In addition, the RAAM permits higher power densities to be achieved within the limitations of the power supply. These findings help to pave the way for exploiting the full potential of GDOES and its ultrahigh throughput elemental mapping of large surface area samples.