Improvement of biological time-of-flight-secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging with a bismuth cluster ion source

  • David Touboul
  • Felix Kollmer
  • Ewald Niehuis
  • Alain BrunelleEmail author
  • Olivier Laprévote


A new liquid metal ion gun (LMIG) filled with bismuth has been fitted to a time-of-flight—secondary ion mass spectrometer (TOF-SIMS). This source provides beams of Bi n q+ clusters with n = 1–7 and q = 1 and 2. The appropriate clusters have much better intensities and efficiencies than the Au 3 + gold clusters recently used in TOF-SIMS imaging, and allow better lateral and mass resolution. The different beams delivered by this ion source have been tested for biological imaging of rat brain sections. The results show a great improvement of the imaging capabilities in terms of accessible mass range and useful lateral resolution. Secondary ion yields Y, disappearance cross sections σ, efficiencies E = Y/σ;, and useful lateral resolutions ΔL have been compared using the different bismuth clusters, directly onto the surface of rat brain sections and for several positive and negative secondary ions with m/z ranging from 23 up to more than 750. The efficiency and the imaging capabilities of the different primary ions are compared by taking into account the primary ion current for reasonable acquisition times. The two best primary ions are Bi 3 + and Bi 5 2+ . The Bi 3 + ion beam has a current at least five times larger than Au 3 + and therefore is an excellent beam for large-area imaging. Bi 5 2+ ions exhibit large secondary ions yields and a reasonable intensity making them suitable for small-area images with an excellent sensitivity and a possible useful lateral resolution <400 nm.


Lateral Resolution Gold Cluster Bismuth Cluster Phosphocholine Head Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Touboul
    • 1
  • Felix Kollmer
    • 2
  • Ewald Niehuis
    • 2
  • Alain Brunelle
    • 3
    Email author
  • Olivier Laprévote
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut de Chimie des Substances NaturellesCNRSGif-sur-Yvette CedexFrance
  2. 2.ION-TOF GmbHMünsterGermany
  3. 3.Institut de Chimie des Substances NaturellesCNRSGif-sur-Yvette CedexFrance

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