Sputter Depth Profiling
In sputter depth profiling the surface of a sample is measured with XPS or AES. Then ion sputtering or cluster ion sputtering is used to remove one defined layer. Then the analysis is repeated. By repeating these steps many times, an elemental depth profile of the sample can be restored.
This type of depth profiling is destructive. To make this method quantitative in depth scale, reference materials with defined film thicknesses have to be analyzed before. By this the sputtering time can be converted into sputter depth.