The TOF-SIMS can provide a wide range of information. It can analyze and map less than a monolayer of the real surface of the material, as well as being a depth profiling instrument.
Unlike all other SIMS instruments, TOF-SIMS can analyze heavy molecules up to 10,000 u. This is extremely useful for instance for polymer analysis.
TOF-SIMS is also extremely sensitive, down to the ppm levels, and a mass resolution of up to 10,000 is generally sufficient to separate the spectral lines of various ion species.
Surface ion imaging resolution is <100 nm.
All masses are collected in parallel. Information is not lost because of cyclic collection. This applies equally to imaging.
Depth profiling has been an important tool for analysis. In particular, in the semiconductor field there is the need for increasingly improved depth resolution, as implants become shallower. A depth resolution of <1 nm can be achieved.
Unlike Auger, the performance of which suffers badly when used for insulators, specimen charging in the TOF-SIMS IV can easily be neutralized.