A new method is presented for elemental and molecular analysis of halogen-containing samples by glow discharge time-of-flight mass spectrometry, consisting of detection of negative ions from a pulsed RF glow discharge in argon. Analyte signals are mainly extracted from the afterglow regime of the discharge, where the cross section for electron attachment increases. The formation of negative ions from sputtering of metals and metal oxides is compared with that for positive ions. It is shown that the negative ion signals of F− and TaO2F− are enhanced relative to positive ion signals and can be used to study the distribution of a tantalum fluoride layer within the anodized tantala layer. Further, comparison is made with data obtained using glow-discharge optical emission spectroscopy, where elemental fluorine can only be detected using a neon plasma. The ionization mechanisms responsible for the formation of negative ions in glow discharge time-of-flight mass spectrometry are briefly discussed.
RF glow discharge mass spectrometry Negative ions Fluorine ions Pulsed discharge Anodic tantala Mass spectrometry/ICP-MS Thin films (XPS|XRF|EDX)