• Advanced detection of silicone contamination in industrial applications
  • Positive ion SIMS detection of PDMS on a test foil that was wiped over a lightly contaminated glove. [m/z=73 and 147 are the key components]

Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

Advanced detection of silicone contamination in industrial applications

Feb 08 2024

Hiden Analytical, a pioneer in materials analysis and diagnostics, has unveiled a ground-breaking advancement in detecting and analysing silicone contamination across various industrial applications. The focus is on Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a prevalent silicone-based compound found in products like lubricants, cosmetics, food additives, and sealants.

While PDMS is generally inert and non-toxic, it presents a substantial risk in specific industrial processes. The compound can degrade into silicon dioxide, potentially forming insulating layers in electronic components and hindering surface bonding applications. Additionally, due to its resilient nature, removing PDMS is a challenging task, making contamination a critical concern. Incomplete removal may lead to recoating after cleaning, as PDMS is highly surface mobile.

Hiden Analytical has introduced cost-effective instrumentation utilising Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) technology to rapidly detect silicone presence, even in minute quantities. Unlike traditional expensive SIMS techniques, Hiden Analytical's innovation allows detection without placing the component inside the vacuum chamber, making it a more accessible solution.

SIMS technology excels in detecting PDMS contamination, even when it is just one molecule thick. An added advantage is its capability to analyse the resulting silicon dioxide layer, even if the silicone has undergone degradation. This level of detailed analysis proves invaluable in understanding the effects of contamination on industrial processes.

Dr Graham Cooke, Principal Scientist at Hiden Analytical, emphasised the critical role of addressing industrial contamination for maintaining manufacturing quality and efficiency. He highlighted that the advanced SIMS technology provides unprecedented depth resolution, detecting nanometre-sized features and offering detailed insights into the impact of contamination.

This development signifies not only a technical milestone but also underscores Hiden Analytical's commitment to supporting industries in overcoming challenges posed by microscopic contaminants. The application of SIMS, particularly in semiconductor manufacturing and other sectors requiring high-purity materials, showcases the technology's potential in enhancing quality control and ensuring product integrity.

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