Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 25(8), p. 1247-1252 (2010); doi:10.1039/c002999h
Radiofrequency glow discharge coupled to optical emission spectrometry (RF-GD-OES) is a well-known analytical technique for bulk, surface and depth profiling and can be applied in the direct analysis of conductors, semiconductors and non-conductors, however for the latter case limits still exist. The problem is related to the low power deposited in the plasma due to a voltage drop developing inside the material. The voltage transfer coefficient, defined as the ratio between the peak voltage at the front and at the back of the sample. This depends on the sample capacitance, which itself is dependant on the material surface, thickness and permittivity. In order to improve the analysis of such non-conductive materials, thin conductive top layers are deposited on both sides of the sample which increases their voltage transfer coefficient. The aim of this work is to study the influence of these thin layers on the optical and electrical signals measured for the samples with varying thickness and diameter. Additionally, the influence of applying a magnetic field during the GD analysis has been evaluated as an attractive option in order to obtain higher sputtering rates, together with better ionisation and excitation efficiencies and as a consequence give improved emission intensities.