The surface of many real-life samples that are generated in an industrial research laboratory is often contaminated with adsorbed layers of hydrocarbons and/or silicones [in particular, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)]. These surface contaminants can attenuate or mask underlying species of interest, inhibiting or compromising accurate analysis. While samples can be sputter cleaned in order to remove surface contaminants, this approach is not ideal as sputtering may alter the chemistry of the surface of interest. In this manuscript, the authors report that an air-based remote plasma cleaning of samples in the load lock of a commercially available time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (ToF-SIMS) instrument can remove both hydrocarbons and PDMS from the outer surface of three different samples that were submitted for surface analysis by ToF-SIMS.

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