Scanning Microscopy


This article describes the application of scanning ion microprobe (SIM) microanalysis for the characterization of advanced engineered materials. In conjunction with secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), scanning ion microprobes can image elemental distributions over surfaces with high lateral resolution (50-100 nm). With this technique, most elements, including isotopes, can be detected with good sensitivity. The principles and instrumentation associated with the SIM/SIMS technique are briefly described and ongoing developments are outlined. The analytical capabilities of the technique are illustrated by case studies of aluminum-lithium alloys, zinc oxide varistors, aluminum matrix composites, and photographic materials.

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