Ion beam analysis facility

Ion beam analysis is an enabling technology for thin film scientists and engineers. It is a powerful group of analytical techniques for determining the elemental composition of thin films.


We can get accurate (and traceable) analyses, with good spacial resolution both laterally and in depth.

IBA techniques have recently become much more powerful, since the self-consistent analysis of photon emission (PIXE) spectra together with particle scattering (RBS, EBS, ERD, NRA) spectra has become available. These new methods, which we have been instrumental in developing, fully exploit the complementary information available from the photon and particle methods: with the depth resolution and traceability of RBS and the mass resolution and sensitivity of PIXE. And all this at the lateral resolution given by our microbeam, and soon also our nanobeam.


We have a 2MV Tandetron from High Voltage Engineering Europe with five beam lines:

  • Microbeam line commissioned Summer 2002
  • A millibeam line commissioned Autumn 2002
  • A focussed external beam line for ambient pressure analysis
  • Nanobeam line currently running sub-micron and expected to be fully operational during 2011
  • Nano-focussed vertical beam line for bio-irradiation studies.

The microbeam line is equipped with a magnetic quadrupole triplet lens and magnetic scanner unit from Oxford Microbeams Ltd, capable of focussing the beam to one micron diameter and scanning over 2mm square. It can also be equipped with a gamma detector, a ToF mass spectrometer and/or a optical spectrometer for more ambitious analysis.

The millibeam is equipped with a six movement goniometer from Arun Microelectronics Ltd and a sample exchange mechanism through via an airlock. The sample holder is 150mm * 100mm. The goniometer can turn the sample to glancing beam incidence angles and is suitable for high resolution depth profiling and depth profiling of H (and D) using 4He ERD.

Techniques and equipment available are:

  • RBS, EBS, ERD, PIXE, selected NRA with up to 2.5 MeV H, 6MeV 4He and 1.4MeV 3He beams
  • Multi-axis channelling with a UHV 6 movement goniometer (RBS/EBS/ERD)
  • Microbeam analysis of laterally inhomogeneous samples (PIXE/RBS/NRA)
  • Cold stage analysis of delicate samples using microbeam (RBS/EBS, PIXE, NRA).

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Ion Beam Centre
Advanced Technology Institute
University of Surrey