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A new analytical method based on quantitative depth profile analysis by direct current glow discharge optical emission spectrometry (DC GD-OES) for rapid multi-element analysis of very thin conductive films on steel-based materials was developed. This method has been tested for some important classes of flat steel products such as stainless steels and conversion/passivation layers on steel-based substrates. The thin films investigated, oxides, hydroxides and chromates, covered a restricted thickness range (from a few nm to a few tens nm) and contained light elements (H, O and C) as major components. These materials have been characterized by XPS, wet chemical analysis and ellipsometry for establishing reference data to evaluate the proposed quantification method.

The principal characteristics of this method is to take into account certain artefacts, due to the influence of light elements (especially hydrogen) on the GD plasma that distort GD-OES depth profile at the beginning of the discharge. The new GQ-QUANT software, based on the emission yield quantification approach, introduces two important algorithms that correct the light element effects on plasma. One correction function takes into account the influence of light elements as atoms (matrix corrections), while the other considers the interference for transient molecular species (dynamic line interference corrections). The comparison of the results obtained by applying the GQ-QUANT software respect to the previous P4Q has shown a general improvement of the GD-OES depth resolution and of the accuracy of the composition of elements present in the thin layers..

Additional information

Authors: HANSTROM S, Swedish Institute for Metals Research, Stockholm (SE);BENGTSON A, Swedish Institute for Metals Research, Stockholm (SE);ZACCHETTI N, CSM, Rome (IT);LO PICCOLO E, CSM, Rome (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19413 EN (2001), pp. 77. Euro: 11.50
Availability: Available from EUR-OP sales agent URL:
ISBN: ISBN 92-894-1455-3
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