Enhanced Ion Yields Using High Energy Water Cluster Beams for Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Analysis and Imaging

Sadia Sheraz, Hua Tian, John C. Vickerman, Paul Blenkinsopp, Nicholas Winograd, Peter Cumpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that the use of a 20 keV water cluster beam as a primary beam for the analysis of organic and bio-organic systems resulted in a 10-100 times increase in positive molecular ion yield for a range of typical analytes compared to C60 and argon cluster beams. This resulted in increased sensitivity to important lipid molecules in the bioimaging of rat brain. Building on these studies, the present work compares 40 and 70 keV water cluster beams with cluster beams composed of pure argon, argon and 10%CO2, and pure CO2. First, as previously, we show that for E/nucleon about 0.3 eV/nucleon water and nonwater containing cluster beams generate very similar ion yields, but below this value, the water beams yields of BOTH negative and positive "molecular" ions increase, in many cases reaching a maximum in the <0.2 region, with yield increases of ∼10-100. Ion fragment yields in general decrease quite dramatically in this region. Second, for water cluster beams at a constant E/nucleon, "molecular" ion yield increases with beam energy and hence cluster size due to increased sputter yield (ionization probability is constant). Third, as a consequence of the increased ion yield and the improved focusability using high-energy cluster beams, imaging in the 1 μm spatial resolution region is demonstrated on HeLa cells and rat brain tissue, monitoring molecules that were previously difficult to detect with other primary beams. Finally, the suggestion that the secondary ion emission zone has quasi-aqueous character seems to be sustained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9058-9068
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - May 28 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhanced Ion Yields Using High Energy Water Cluster Beams for Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Analysis and Imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this