Sputtering of Oxides from LaNi5 Surface
The changes in chemical composition of the intermetallic alloy LaNi5 surface monolayers were studied using secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) in the process of the alloy interaction with oxygen. The investigated samples were pellets made by pressing the fine-grained LaNi5 alloy. Ar+ ions having energies of 10-18 keV were used as primary ions. The primary beam current density was 9-17 μA·cm-2, which corresponds to the dynamic SIMS mode. The emission intensities of secondary ions were measured within the dynamic range of at least 6 orders of magnitude. Before the measurements, the samples were annealed in residual vacuum at a temperature of ~ 1000 K. After the annealing, the sample surface was cleaned using the primary ion beam until the mass-spectrum composition and secondary ion emission intensity stabilized completely. The gas phase composition was monitored using a gas mass spectrometer. The conducted studies showed that a complex chemical structure including oxygen, lanthanum, and nickel is formed on the surface and in the near-surface region of LaNi5 as a result of its exposure to oxygen. Oxygen forms strong chemical bonds in such a structure with both components of the alloy. This is evidenced by the presence of a large set of oxygen containing emissions of positive and negative secondary ions with lanthanum, with nickel, and oxygen containing lanthanum-nickel cluster secondary ions in mass spectra. The resulting oxide compounds have a bulk structure and occupy dozens of monolayers. In such a bulk oxide structure, the outer monolayers are characterized by the highest ratio of oxygen atom number to the number of matrix atoms. This ratio decreases along the transition from the surface to the underlying monolayers. This process occurs uniformly, without any phase transformation. The observed secondary ions are not a product of association between sputtered surface fragments and oxygen in the gas phase at the fly-off stage after sputter-ejection, but they are products of the oxide compounds being sputtered, hence they characterize the composition of surface and near-surface region.
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