CO2 Cluster Ion Beam, an Alternative Projectile for Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry

Hua Tian, Dawid Maciążek, Zbigniew Postawa, Barbara J. Garrison, Nicholas Winograd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The emergence of argon-based gas cluster ion beams for SIMS experiments opens new possibilities for molecular depth profiling and 3D chemical imaging. These beams generally leave less surface chemical damage and yield mass spectra with reduced fragmentation compared with smaller cluster projectiles. For nanoscale bioimaging applications, however, limited sensitivity due to low ionization probability and technical challenges of beam focusing remain problematic. The use of gas cluster ion beams based upon systems other than argon offer an opportunity to resolve these difficulties. Here we report on the prospects of employing CO2 as a simple alternative to argon. Ionization efficiency, chemical damage, sputter rate, and beam focus are investigated on model compounds using a series of CO2 and Ar cluster projectiles (cluster size 1000–5000) with the same mass. The results show that the two projectiles are very similar in each of these aspects. Computer simulations comparing the impact of Ar2000 and (CO2)2000 on an organic target also confirm that the CO2 molecules in the cluster projectile remain intact, acting as a single particle of m/z 44. The imaging resolution employing CO2 cluster projectiles is improved by more than a factor of two. The advantage of CO2 versus Ar is also related to the increased stability which, in addition, facilitates the operation of the gas cluster ion beams (GCIB) system at lower backing pressure. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1476-1482
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy


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