Journal of The American Society for Mass Spectrometry

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 2006–2013

Improving the Molecular Ion Signal Intensity for In Situ Liquid SIMS Analysis

  • Yufan Zhou
  • Juan Yao
  • Yuanzhao Ding
  • Jiachao Yu
  • Xin Hua
  • James E. Evans
  • Xiaofei Yu
  • David B. Lao
  • David J. Heldebrant
  • Satish K. Nune
  • Bin Cao
  • Mark E. Bowden
  • Xiao-Ying Yu
  • Xue-Lin Wang
  • Zihua Zhu
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s13361-016-1478-x

Cite this article as:
Zhou, Y., Yao, J., Ding, Y. et al. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. (2016) 27: 2006. doi:10.1007/s13361-016-1478-x


In situ liquid secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) enabled by system for analysis at the liquid vacuum interface (SALVI) has proven to be a promising new tool to provide molecular information at solid–liquid and liquid–vacuum interfaces. However, the initial data showed that useful signals in positive ion spectra are too weak to be meaningful in most cases. In addition, it is difficult to obtain strong negative molecular ion signals when m/z>200. These two drawbacks have been the biggest obstacle towards practical use of this new analytical approach. In this study, we report that strong and reliable positive and negative molecular signals are achievable after optimizing the SIMS experimental conditions. Four model systems, including a 1,8-diazabicycloundec-7-ene (DBU)-base switchable ionic liquid, a live Shewanella oneidensis biofilm, a hydrated mammalian epithelia cell, and an electrolyte popularly used in Li ion batteries were studied. A signal enhancement of about two orders of magnitude was obtained in comparison with non-optimized conditions. Therefore, molecular ion signal intensity has become very acceptable for use of in situ liquid SIMS to study solid–liquid and liquid–vacuum interfaces.

Graphical Abstract


In situ liquid SIMS Solid-liquid interface Molecular imaging Ionic liquid Biofilm Cell Electrolyte 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Physics, State Key Laboratory of Crystal Materials and Key Laboratory of Particle Physics and Particle Irradiation (MOE)Shandong UniversityJinanChina
  2. 2.W. R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Earth and Biological Sciences Directorate, Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA
  3. 3.Earth and Biological Sciences Directorate, Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA
  4. 4.School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  5. 5.Energy and Environment DirectoratePacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA

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