Sputter Depth Profiling (Sputter Profiling)
Many surface science techniques, like X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) or Auger-electron spectroscopy (AES), provide only information about the first few nanometers below the surface. If information about the bulk structure of the sample is desired, one can use sputter-depth profiling methods. With these methods, the topmost layers of the sample are successively removed by ion bombardment, while e.g. XPS measurements are performed in parallel. In this way, it is possible to consecutively uncover the hidden sample layers and to analyse them with surface specific methods.