18 September 2014 Analysis of particulates on tape lift samples
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Particle counts on tape lift samples taken from a hardware surface exceeded threshold requirements in six successive tests despite repeated cleaning of the surface. Subsequent analysis of the particle size distributions of the failed tests revealed that the handling and processing of the tape lift samples may have played a role in the test failures. In order to explore plausible causes for the observed size distribution anomalies, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) were employed to perform chemical analysis on collected particulates. SEM/EDX identified Na and S containing particles on the hardware samples in a size range identified as being responsible for the test failures. ToF-SIMS was employed to further examine the Na and S containing particulates and identified the molecular signature of sodium alkylbenzene sulfonates, a common surfactant used in industrial detergent. The root cause investigation suggests that the tape lift test failures originated from detergent residue left behind on the glass slides used to mount and transport the tape following sampling and not from the hardware surface.
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Robert M. Moision, Robert M. Moision, John A. Chaney, John A. Chaney, Chris J. Panetta, Chris J. Panetta, De-Ling Liu, De-Ling Liu, "Analysis of particulates on tape lift samples", Proc. SPIE 9196, Systems Contamination: Prediction, Measurement, and Control 2014, 919604 (18 September 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2061154; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2061154

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