Glow Discharge Depth Profiling a Powerful Analytical Technique in Surface Engineering (TECHNICAL NOTE)


Materials Engineering, University of Birmingham


A variety of analytical techniques have been developed and employed to characterize the surfaces, subsurfaces and interfaces of surface engineering systems. They provide important information for quality control, process optimization and further development. Since the mid 1980's, glow discharge spectrometry (GDS) has emerged as an important and versatile technique for rapid depth profiling analysis of the chemical compositions of surface layers with thickness ranging from a few nanometers to several tens of micrometers. The basic principles of GDS are first discussed briefly in the present paper. Then applications of the technique to various surface engineering systems, including PVD coatings, ion implanted surfaces, diffusion layers and multi-layer coatings, are demonstrated to highlight the important role of this analytical technique in surface engineering.