Abstract Sputter depth profiling of alloys and interfaces using low energy ion beams can cause in-depth compositional changes to occur. One possible mechanism responsible for such changes is enhanced diffusion occuring along point defects generated by the ion bombardment in the near-surface region. Sputter profiling of a Ni/Ag interface produces a mixed NiAg surface region and we have found that in such a region, bombardment with 1–4 keV argon ions at 20°C, the Ag will segregate to the surface. This segregation can be observed to occur in real time after the ion bombardment has been stopped. Auger spectroscopy was used to obtain a unique set of measurements of the kinetics of surface segregation due to bombardment-enhances near-surface diffusion. The kinetics of this segregation is examined and its influence on sputter depth profiling demonstrated.