An International Standard for Reliable Chemical Depth Profiling of Organic Materials

Short Name: ISOChemDepth, Project Number: 15SIP02
Image showing a crystal processor
A crystal processor

Metrology using Argon ion beams to characterise organic materials incorporated into international standard

Advanced manufacturing, photovoltaics and electronics are all crucial areas of industry supporting the European economy.
To provide insight into the performance and manufacture of products made from inorganic materials, such as semiconductors, industry experts commonly use ‘sputter depth profiling’. In this technique, the surface layers of a sample are removed by ‘bombarding’ it with charged particles. The material ejected from the surface can then be analysed using a mass spectrometer to give information on the sample’s elemental depth profile.

However, international standards for sputter depth profiling did not extend to cover organic materials, such as polymers, resulting in an inconsistent approach to measurements. The international standards technical committee ISO/TC 201 identified the development of a standard in this area as a high-priority. Such a standard would allow industry, academia, and manufacturers to benefit from developments and uptake in ion source instrumentation, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).

The previous EMRP project TReND established metrology to underpin sputter depth profiling of organic materials to measure the average sputtering yield volume - a key parameter in the sputter depth profiling of organic materials. However, further work was required to develop a documentary standard in this area.


During this project, members of the consortium attended four ISO TC 201 meetings to further develop the standard. It was submitted to the ISO TC201/SC6 committee as a new work item and updated by the project team in consultation with international experts from organisations such as NIST (USA), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (USA), NIM (China) and AIST (Japan).

In May 2019 the completed standard was published as ISO 22415.

This new ISO standard will become the reference point for reliable sputtering depth profiling for assessing the performance of materials and devices, including organic electronics and medical devices.

This will aid in developing improved products in these key industrial sectors, accelerate innovation and contributing to economic growth and development of environmentally friendly and low-cost technologies.




Participating EURAMET NMIs and DIs
NPL (United Kingdom)