National Physical Laboratory

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry


Our SIMS instrument has an automated stage, state-of-the-art primary ion beams including the new 'G-tip' a mixed Bi/Mn LMIG source and a high energy (120keV) C60+ source, and shows better than 2 % repeatability:

  • Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
    Detailed chemical analysis of surfaces to better than 1ppm sensitivity for some molecules. Chemical structure for molecules up to 2000 u and some structural data. Ability to run high resolution images and organic and inorganic depth profiles. Spatial resolution better than 200 nm for static SIMS. It can be used to study complex molecules such as organics, polymers, biomaterials and drugs and trace levels of elementals from the top 1 nm of complex surfaces.

  • G-SIMS
    G-SIMS is a variant of static SIMS that was developed at NPL to allow identification of molecules at surfaces without the need for reference spectra. The development of G-SIMS fragmentation pathway mapping allows complex fragmentation data to be extracted from the spectra to give structural, MS/MS like, molecular information. The G-SIMS method has been shown to be successful for a range of polymer, organic and biological materials, easing identification and enabling structural speciation.

  • Cluster Primary Ions
    Cluster SIMS enhances large molecular fragments and reduces damage to the sample surface. This gives more information and better sensitivity for molecular samples. In addition C60+ 'bucky balls' can be used to remove layers of an organic surface with little damage, this can be used to build up 3D molecular maps of a sample.

Multivariate analysis
Many samples are complex mixtures of molecules leading to spectra that are difficult to interpret or quantify. Multivariate analysis uses mathematical techniques to simplify and pull out key trends from a set of data. This can be very powerful to aid and speed up data interpretation.


Customer Service tel: +44 20 8943 8637

Last Updated: 5 Mar 2012
Created: 29 May 2009


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