My colleague and fellow Edison’s Desk blogger Vincent Smentkowski published a great overview of time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (TOF-SIMS) in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of the American Ceramic Society Bulletin. TOF-SIMS is a powerful surface analysis technique that analyzes surface and subsurface chemistry (including hydrogen!) to ppb levels in materials. In the article, Vincent shows how TOF-SIMS can be applied to measuring surface chemistry for a variety of ceramic materials, including solid oxide fuel cells, here at our labs at GE Global Research.
This is just one example of the many powerful characterization tools that we have here have at our fingertips for studying materials!