Label free biochemical 2D and 3D imaging using secondary ion mass spectrometry

John S. Fletcher, John C. Vickerman, Nicholas Winograd

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) provides a method for the detection of native and exogenous compounds in biological samples on a cellular scale. Through the development of novel ion beams the amount of molecular signal available from the sample surface has been increased. Through the introduction of polyatomic ion beams, particularly C 60, ToF-SIMS can now be used to monitor molecular signals as a function of depth as the sample is eroded thus proving the ability to generate 3D molecular images. Here we describe how this new capability has led to the development of novel instrumentation for 3D molecular imaging while also highlighting the importance of sample preparation and discuss the challenges that still need to be overcome to maximise the impact of the technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-740
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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