Dynamic secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) can be used to uncover unique information about interfaces and whole structures which are “buried” within a solid. During a depth profile of a solid, a sequence of SIMS images is acquired for each element under study The sequence is correlated into a vertical “stack” which contains digitised three dimensional (3D) elemental distributions. Although such distributions are distorted by surface roughness, preferential sputtering and SIMS matrix effects, there is still considerable structural information contained in the volume and much potential for further information retrieval as the above-mentioned distorting effects are addressed
One of the major tools used to assess distributional information within the 3D volume has been visual rendering software. Using Sunvision software (Sun Microsystems Inc.) and a small workstation, images of the volume can be constructed which display pixels either in a “maximum value” perspective or in perspectives where the density of each phase can be adjusted to maximise structural detail.Several examples of the technique will be shown.