The quantitative composition of every single surface layer down to trace elements is often of crucial importance for the quality of products. Detailed knowledge of this means a decisive advantage over competitors. The INA-X system works on the principle of SNMS (Secondary Neutral Mass Spectrometry). The key feature of the SNMS technique and advantage over the SIMS (Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry) method is the strict separation between emission and ionization of the sputtered particles from the sample surface.
Thus, the so called Matrix effects of SIMS are eliminated.
Since the flux of sputter removed particles consists almost exclusively of neutrals, and each particle is monitored with a known fixed detection probability, the SNMS signals show the sample composition directly and quantitatively. Electron impact ionization of the sputtered neutral particles with the ”electron-gas” of the RF-plasma results in a good linear relationship between measured signal intensities and true element concentrations. This makes SNMS a highly reliable and simple to use method for quantifying sample composition.