A secondary ion mass spectrometer using slow, highly charged ions produced in an electron beam ion trap permits ultra-sensitive surface analysis and high spatial resolution simultaneously. The spectrometer comprises an ion source producing a primary ion beam of highly charged ions that are directed at a target surface, a mass analyzer, and a microchannel plate detector of secondary ions that are sputtered from the target surface after interaction with the primary beam. The unusually high secondary ion yield permits the use of coincidence counting, in which the secondary ion stops are detected in coincidence with a particular secondary ion. The association of specific molecular species can be correlated. The unique multiple secondary nature of the highly charged ion interaction enables this new analytical technique.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.