Talanta, 84(2), p. 572-578 (2011); doi:10.1016/j.talanta.2011.01.076
In recent years particular effort is being devoted towards the development of radiofrequency (rf) pulsed glow discharges (GDs) coupled to optical emission spectrometry (OES) for depth profile analysis of materials with technological interest. In this work, pulsed rf-GD-OES is investigated for the fast and sensitive depth characterization of Zn–TiO2 nanocomposite films deposited on conductive substrates (Ti and steel). The first part of this work focuses on assessing the advantages of pulsed GDs, in comparison with the continuous GD, in terms of analytical emission intensities and emission yields. Next, 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 75 W, a pressure of 600 Pa, 10 kHz pulse frequency and 50% duty cycle were selected as GD operation parameters.Quantitative depth profiles obtained with the GD proposed methodology for Zn–TiO2 nanocomposite films, prepared by the occlusion electrodeposition method using pulsed reverse current electrolysis, have proved to be in good agreement with results achieved by complementary techniques, including scanning electron microscopy and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The work carried out demonstrates that pulsed rf-GD-OES is a promising tool for the fast analytical characterization of nanocomposite films.