Analytica Chimica Acta, 684(40575), p. 47-53 (2011); doi:10.1016/j.aca.2010.10.039
In recent years particular effort is being devoted towards the development of pulsed GDs because this powering operation mode could offer important analytical advantages. However, the capabilities of radiofrequency (rf) powered glow discharge (GD) in pulsed mode coupled to optical emission spectrometry (OES) for real depth profile quantification has not been demonstrated yet. Therefore, the first part of this work is focussed on assessing the expected advantages of the pulsed GD mode, in comparison with its continuous mode counterpart, in terms of analytical emission intensities and emission yield parameters. Then, the capability of pulsed rf-GD-OES for determination of thickness and compositional depth profiles is demonstrated by resorting to a simple multi-matrix calibration procedure. A rf forward power of 50 W, a pressure of 600 Pa, 1000 Hz pulse frequency and 50% duty cycle were selected. The quantification procedure used was validated by analysing conductive layers of thicknesses ranging from a few tens of nanometer up to about 20 μm and varied compositions (hot-dipped zinc, galvanneal, back contact of thin film photovoltaic solar cells and tinplates).