Analytical characterization of light elements, like lithium, is exceedingly challenging, if not impossible, using common techniques such as energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). This is also true for high-resolution material analysis of samples with very low elemental concentrations. A SIMS (secondary ion mass spectrometry) detector enables sensitive surface analysis for many industrial and research applications. The technique provides detailed elemental and isotopic information about the sample and is capable of depth profiling analysis.

SEM image of a lithium battery cathode cross-section (left) and corresponding SIMS map showing the lithium distribution (right).
SEM image of a lithium battery cathode cross-section (left) and corresponding SIMS map showing the lithium distribution (right).

Secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) is possible on DualBeam (FIB-SEM) tools as ionized particles are generated by the FIB milling process; because these particles come from a very shallow depth, it is considered a surface analysis technique. Ionized particles are identified and quantified based on their time of flight (TOF) in the drift space of the detector. Modern SIMS detectors are compact and well suited for measuring all elements of the periodic table as well as their various isotopes. The key benefits of added TOF-SIMS analysis on FIB-SEM instrumentation include:

  • Detection and mapping of all elements of the periodic table, including light elements such as hydrogen, lithium, boron, and carbon in difficult samples such as low-carbon steels
  • Excellent depth and lateral resolution, which is essential for 3D analytical characterization
  • High-sensitivity elemental analysis capable of detecting concentrations on the parts-per-million (ppm) level
  • High mass resolution
  • Surface composition information
  • Separation and analysis of all isotopes and analytical characterization of their spatial distribution
BAM L200 ion beam image and SIMS analysis of aluminum content.
Left: Ion beam image of BAM-L200, a certified reference material, at 30 kV and 1.1 pA. The area marked in red has been scanned with SIMS to collect the aluminum signal. Right: Aluminum TOF-SIMS signal (vertically integrated) showing the W8 (38 nm) and P8–P4 bands, left to right.
Fluoride content in PVDF lithium battery cathode binder material obtained with SIMS analysis
Cross-section of a lithium battery cathode with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) binder material. While it is challenging for EDS to map the fluoride distribution it can be efficiently imaged using SIMS mapping (right image).
NdFeB magnet SIMS maps showing boron, oxygen, aluminum, neodymium and iron.
SIMS enables the simultaneous detection of light and low-concentration elements along with heavy elements.
BAM L200 ion beam image and SIMS analysis of aluminum content.
Left: Ion beam image of BAM-L200, a certified reference material, at 30 kV and 1.1 pA. The area marked in red has been scanned with SIMS to collect the aluminum signal. Right: Aluminum TOF-SIMS signal (vertically integrated) showing the W8 (38 nm) and P8–P4 bands, left to right.
Fluoride content in PVDF lithium battery cathode binder material obtained with SIMS analysis
Cross-section of a lithium battery cathode with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) binder material. While it is challenging for EDS to map the fluoride distribution it can be efficiently imaged using SIMS mapping (right image).
NdFeB magnet SIMS maps showing boron, oxygen, aluminum, neodymium and iron.
SIMS enables the simultaneous detection of light and low-concentration elements along with heavy elements.

Applications

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Quality Control
 

Quality control and assurance are essential in modern industry. We offer a range of EM and spectroscopy tools for multi-scale and multi-modal analysis of defects, allowing you to make reliable and informed decisions for process control and improvement.

 

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Fundamental Materials Research

Novel materials are investigated at increasingly smaller scales for maximum control of their physical and chemical properties. Electron microscopy provides researchers with key insight into a wide variety of material characteristics at the micro- to nano-scale.

 


Samples


Battery Research

Battery development is enabled by multi-scale analysis with microCT, SEM and TEM, Raman spectroscopy, XPS, and digital 3D visualization and analysis. Learn how this approach provides the structural and chemical information needed to build better batteries.

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Metals Research

Effective production of metals requires precise control of inclusions and precipitates. Our automated tools can perform a variety of tasks critical for metal analysis including; nanoparticle counting, EDS chemical analysis and TEM sample preparation.

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Polymers Research

Polymer microstructure dictates the material’s bulk characteristics and performance. Electron microscopy enables comprehensive microscale analysis of polymer morphology and composition for R&D and quality control applications.

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Geological Research

Geoscience relies on consistent and accurate multi-scale observation of features within rock samples. SEM-EDS, combined with automation software, enables direct, large-scale analysis of texture and mineral composition for petrology and mineralogy research.

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Oil and Gas

As the demand for oil and gas continues, there is an ongoing need for efficient and effective extraction of hydrocarbons. Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a range of microscopy and spectroscopy solutions for a variety of petroleum science applications.

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Nanoparticles

Materials have fundamentally different properties at the nanoscale than at the macroscale. To study them, S/TEM instrumentation can be combined with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to obtain nanometer, or even sub-nanometer, resolution data.

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Catalysis Research

Catalysts are critical for a majority of modern industrial processes. Their efficiency depends on the microscopic composition and morphology of the catalytic particles; EM with EDS is ideally suited for studying these properties.

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Products

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Helios Hydra DualBeam

  • 4 fast switchable ion species (Xe, Ar, O, N) for optimized PFIB processing of a widest range of materials
  • Ga-free TEM sample preparation
  • Extreme high resolution SEM imaging

Helios 5 DualBeam

  • Fully automated, high-quality, ultra-thin TEM sample preparation
  • High throughput, high resolution subsurface and 3D characterization
  • Rapid nanoprototyping capabilities

Helios G4 PFIB DualBeam

  • High throughput large volume subsurface and 3D characterization
  • High-quality Ga+ free TEM samples
  • Extreme high resolution SEM imaging
  • Advanced ease of use and automation capabilities

Scios 2 DualBeam

  • Full support of magnetic and non-conductive samples
  • High throughput subsurface and 3D characterization
  • Advanced ease of use and automation capabilities
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Electron microscopy services for
the materials science

To ensure optimal system performance, we provide you access to a world-class network of field service experts, technical support, and certified spare parts.

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