Sign up for NPL updates
Sign up for NPL updates

Receive regular emails from NPL to get a glimpse of our activities and see how our experts are informing and influencing scientific debate

Products and services

Mass spectrometry imaging

Applying our knowledge of MSI imaging techniques to support healthcare, life sciences and other industries

We are constantly improving our resolution and broadening the applications for mass spectrometry imaging (MSI). Our experienced team, combined with our world leading range of imaging techniques, offers novel and unique capabilities to help solve customer problems. 

Examples of this include:

Skin and hair health: NPL can provide label-free visualisation of formulations and their penetration into dermal tissue and hair structure.  In the case of skin tissue samples, identification of the penetration pathway, such as follicular or transcellular, is possible. We also offer chemical characterisation of formulations, including co-localisation of the ingredients, demixing and crystallisation.

Medical device development: We support medical device development by determining root causes of device failure, device/host interactions and origins of a surface contaminations. This improves manufacturing processes and reliability, and meets the quality control and regulatory requirements.

Tissue imaging: Localised molecular information provides the opportunity to directly investigate the link between tissue structure and function, and MSI has been established as a powerful technique for achieving this. We offer services for industry and academia in a range of techniques for mass spectrometry imaging of small and large molecules, at resolutions suitable for probing sub-cellular, cellular and whole tissue features.

Computational analysis tools for large multi-modal data: Our diverse range of surface and nano-analysis techniques often produce large, heterogeneous and complex multi-modal data. The computational capabilities we have developed allow the visualisation and analysis of these data, enhancing the understanding of particular problems or measurements. A wide range of machine learning, statistical, data-driven and exploratory data analysis methods enable us to extract all key information from these multiple data modalities.

Our computational expertise are readily transferable to general problems surrounding large scale data and analysis. Through measurement and consultancy services, we can provide the analysis and visualisation of data, or provide software, training and support for companies to mine their own data.

Find out more about our commercial services including surface, nano and biophyiscal characterision.



NPL is the home to the National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging (NiCE-MSI). MSI techniques provide powerful eyes on the molecular and atomic world. We aim to advance the development, understanding and application of the principle mass spectrometry imaging techniques to a wide variety of new applications:

• secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS)
• matrix assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS)
• the family of atmospheric mass spectrometry techniques (DESI, LESA, PADI)

Contact us

The National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging (NiCE-MSI)

The National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging (NiCE-MSI) aims to advance the development, understanding and application of the principal mass spectrometry imaging techniques. We are actively researching high resolution mass spectrometry, secondary ion MSI and MALDI MSI, as well as data analysis techniques and instrument development.

Mass spectrometry

We’re here to help

Still struggling to work out what you need? We pride ourselves on giving sound technical advice to guide you. By combining expert advice, standard tests and bespoke consultancy, you can be confident in our approach.

Contact us

Case study

New subcellular imaging to support pharmaceutical innovation



Enabling immediate decision making in surgery


Work with us

Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070