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OrbiSIMS community resources

We are accurately mapping and measuring the chemical composition for metabolic profiling of biological samples.

OrbiSIMS around the world

After the prototype instrument at NPL, IONTOF GmbH have successfully commercialised it as the M6 Hybrid SIMS. There are now many OrbiSIMS instruments around the world as shown in the map below.


National Physical Laboratory
United Kingdom
Website | Contact

University of Nottingham
United Kingdom
Website | Contact

Justus-Liebig-Universitat Giessen
Website | Contact

Chemical Imaging Infrastructure
Website | Contact

Tascon GmbH
Website | Contact

Korean Basic Science Institute
Republic of Korea
Website | Contact

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Website | Contact

Brigham & Women’s Hospital | Harvard Medical School
United States
Website | Contact

Collaboration on OrbiSIMS

OrbiSIMS is a versatile instrument for biological, organic and inorganic studies of surfaces and interfaces. Many instruments have now been installed around the world with a growing community of users and a rapidly growing repertoire of publications.

NPL is keen to:

  • Support the community with the latest developments in metrology to improve measurement
  • Advertise OrbiSIMS intercomparisons studies which are open to participation
  • Help connect the community and provide a bibliography of published material
  • Provide sources to support the community including data and algorithms.

Contact us

OrbiSIMS interlaboratory comparison (call to participants)

NPL is the UK's National Metrology Institute, developing and maintaining the national primary measurement standards. The National Centre of Excellent in Mass Spectrometry Imaging (NiCE-MSI) at NPL and collaborators introduced OrbiSIMS in 2017 for 3D chemical imaging of molecules and it has become increasingly popular for biological and material sciences owing to its ability to give simultaneous high confidence in molecular identity and localisation.

With a growing number of instruments internationally, there is an increased need for reproducible measurements. In recent works we realised that Signal, Noise and Transmission form a metrology triangle that can provide a secure foundation and lead to innovative analytical methods and new technologies.

OrbiSIMS is done on a hybrid instrument with a dual analyser instrument combining a Time-of-Flight (ToF) mass spectrometer (MS) and an OrbitrapTM MS, which confer advantages of speed and high-performance mass spectrometry, respectively. The VAMAS TWA 2 A37 MS interlaboratory comparison aims to build on the methods previously published and study reproducibility of OrbiSIMS experiments for organic and inorganic materials.

Benefits for participating in the intercomparison:

  • Repeatability measured

  • Noise characteristics measured

  • Conversion factor of Orbitrap intensity to counts

  • Signal linearity of instrument

  • Reproducibility of relative and absolute signal


Recently we conducted a systematic study of two key parameters in OrbiSIMS transfer optics. The Orbitrap requires ions to have a potential of approximately 57.5 V and lower kinetic energy distribution than results from the SIMS process. The sample is biased by a sample target voltage, VT, necessary to match the acceptance window of the OrbitrapTM analyser. A transfer system using an ion guide with He gas at a pressure P slows the ions and reduces their kinetic energy distribution through inelastic collisions with gas atoms. The data acquired using the protocol will be used to map secondary ion intensity in function of VT and P.

Noise and signal

Measurement of the OrbitrapTM analyser noise distribution requires a source of ions that is stable over the time frame of the measurements. The protocol describes how to perform simple measurements of a reference silver sample across a range of ion intensities, beam currents and how to measure stability of the primary ion beam current at the sample.

Find out about our OrbiSIMS research

For more information contact Gustavo F. Trindade

Further reading

  1. High-spec mass spec, Physics World (2019)
  2. Naturejobs blog “New Instruments advance mass spectrometry imaging”  (Dec 2017)
  3. Nature Methods, News and Views article “Mass spectrometry imaging goes three dimensional” (Dec 2017)
  4. The Analyst Article “The Super-Resolution Revolution”  (Jul 2017)
  5. Cell systems article - Principles of Systems Biology, No. 24 (Dec 2017)

Open PhD position

“Going beyond the mass scale: Exploiting state-of-the-art instrumentation to add molecular structure to 3D mass spectrometry imaging”

View details and apply


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