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NPL is using a Cameca NanoSIMS 50L to develop new MSI capabilities to explore problems in the life and physical sciences down to 35 nm spatial resolution. The NanoSIMS is a unique imaging mass spectrometer capable of mapping up to 7 isotopic masses simultaneously at high spatial resolution (35 nm) and high mass resolution (m/Δm >10,000).
This technique allows us to detect isotopes of all elements in the periodic table, including hydrogen, with ppm-ppb detection limits. It is ideal for mapping the distribution of trace and ultralight elements in advanced materials, and for cellular and sub-cellular imaging of pharmaceutical distributions in biological samples. It is also capable of high precision isotope ratio images, enabling the mapping and quantification of metabolic processes through stable isotope labelling experimental protocols. Our research is looking at increasing the capabilities, including the quantification of isotopes and advancing statistical data analysis methodologies.
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