A pre-coated steel sheet for household electrical appliances needs to be highly formable and stain resistant. In recent years, secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) with a time-of-flight (TOF) mass analyzer with an Ar gas cluster ion beam (Ar–GCIB) has been widely used as a structure analysis technology of organic molecules. In this paper, we looked into the effectiveness of Ar–GCIB–TOF–SIMS as a structure analysis technique of paint film. As a result, we could detect the trimer fragment ions of hexamethoxymethylmelamine in the range of m/z = 400–800 for the first time for the spin-coating of HMMM on a Si wafer. By evaluation of characteristic monomer fragment ions, we could find out the different surface distributions of melamine-formaldehyde resin with the different formulations of paint films. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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