Depth profiling cross-linked poly(methyl methacrylate) films: a time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry approach
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RATIONALE: In order to determine the degree of cross-linking on the surface and its variations in a nanometer-scale depth of organic materials, we developed an approach based on time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), which provides rich chemical information in the form of fragment ions. TOF-SIMS is extremely surface-sensitive and capable of depth profiling with the use of a sputter ion beam to remove controllable amounts of substance. METHODS: Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) films spin-coated on a Si substrate were cross-linked using a recently developed, surface sensitive, hyperthermal hydrogen projectile bombardment technique. The ion intensity ratio between two ubiquitous hydrocarbon ions, C6 H- and C4 H- , detected in TOF-SIMS, denoted as ρ, was used to assess the degree of cross-linking of the PMMA films. The cross-linking depth of the PMMA films was revealed by depth profiling ρ into the polymer films using a C60+ sputter beam. RESULTS: The control PMMA film spin-coated on a Si substrate was characterized by ρ = 32% on its surface when using a 25 keV Bi3+ primary ion beam. This parameter on the PMMA films subjected to HHIC treatment for 10, 100 and 500 s increased to 45%, 56% and 65%, respectively. The depth profiles of ρ obtained using a 10 keV C60+ ion beam resembled an exponential decay, from which the cross-linking depth was estimated to be 3, 15 and 39 nm, respectively, for the three cross-linked PMMA films. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that the ion intensity ratio of C6 H- to C4 H- detected in TOF-SIMS provides a unique and simple means to assess the degree of cross-linking of the surface of PMMA films cross-linked by the surface sensitive hyperthermal hydrogen projectile bombardment technique. With a C60+ sputter beam, we were able to depth profile the PMMA films and determine cross-linking depths of the cross-linked polymer films at nanometer resolutions. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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