RBD Instruments, Inc., announced the release of its latest instrument for analysing the top-most atomic layers of materials, the microCMA. This is a compact cylindrical mirror analyser (CMA) that measures the kinetic energies of electrons emitted from materials in a vacuum chamber. This type of analyser is used in Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) surface analysis.
In use since the 1950s, AES has become a practical characterisation technique in research areas such as surface chemistry and thin films. The first commercial Auger electron spectrometers were introduced in the early 1960s and since that time, they have improved in performance, increased in size and today can cost well over US$1 million. RBD’s microCMA provides high performance in a small form factor for a fraction of the cost of larger cylindrical mirror analysers.
Many analytical vacuum chambers have a small open port where the microCMA could be added. Installing a microCMA onto such an existing vacuum chamber can be an ideal way to add the AES surface analysis technique, while eliminating the need for additional vacuum hardware. By making the CMA smaller, the vacuum chamber and pumping requirements are also reduced, which all help make AES much more affordable to researchers. The small size of the microCMA also makes AES practical as an analytical technique for small vacuum chambers used in research areas such as thermal desorbed spectroscopy and atomic layer deposition.