A novel analytical method of light element distribution in a thin film is presented. The method is based on the deuteron-induced nuclear reaction. The emission angle of the lighter product detected coincidentally with the heavier product is analyzed to deduce the depth distribution of the target atoms, while the conventional energy analysis is applied for impurities, the distributions of which are not of primary interest. Results of proof-of-principle experiments using the D(d, p)t reaction for a deuterated polyethylene (C2D4) film are described. The depth resolution is evaluated to be 0.66 ± 0.07 μm for 400 keV deuteron incidence in the C2D4film. Factors limiting the resolution are discussed, and possible improvement even down to several tens of nm is concluded. The present method is applicable for microanalysis of some light elements other than deuterium contained in a film with thickness of several μm which cannot be reached by conventional heavy ion elastic recoil detection using MV accelerators. The method has another advantage that deterioration of the sample property, such as hydrogen isotope distribution, due to the probe beam irradiation can be minimized. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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