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SIMS: Cameca NanoSIMS 50L

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The NanoSIMS (Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer) creates nanoscale maps of elemental composition, combining the high mass resolution, isotopic identification, and subparts-per-million sensitivity of conventional SIMS with spatial resolution down to 50 nm and the identification of up to seven masses in parallel from the same small volume. In energy research, NanoSIMS can characterize the nanostructured materials with complex composition that are increasingly important candidates for energy generation and storage. Stanford's NanoSIMS is one of only 22 NanoSIMS in the world and one of only a very few of the most current versions of this instrument. Only a handful of NanoSIMSs worldwide can be accessed through collaboration with the owners, as Stanford's can.

Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) is a technique used to analyze the composition of solid surfaces and thin films by sputtering the surface of the specimen with a focused primary ion beam and collecting and analyzing ejected secondary ions. These secondary ions are measured with a mass spectrometer to determine the elemental, isotopic, or molecular composition of the surface. SIMS is a very sensitive surface analysis technique, being able to detect elements present in the parts per billion range. The CAMECA NanoSIMS has a uniquely designed column (a "lens" for ions) that can focus the primary ion beam down to a 50nm spot to provide high lateral resolution analysis. The NanoSIMS also employs a multi-collection detection system to allow for detection of seven different masses simultaneously.

Research Examples

NanoSIMS imaging of membrane phases: NanoSIMS images of a freeze-dried supported lipid bilayer formed by the fusion of a giant unilamellar vesicle composed of 13C-­Cholesterol, 2H-­Sphingomyelin, 19F‐Ganglioside GM1, and 15N-DOPC to an SiO2/Si substrate highlighJng each component by isotopic or fluorine label.
Nitrogen utilization by individual phytoplankton in mixed assemblages. NanoSIMS images of individual cells Nitszchia sp. Shown is the total ion counts (SIMS), ion counts for 12C14N, and the 15N/14N ratio of each cell. Image courtesy of Matt Mills (Arriga Group, Stanford).

Getting Started and Training Information

In order to become a qualified user on the Cameca NanoSIMS, you need to follow each of these steps in the order as listed here:

  1. Complete the process to become a lab member of SNSF and follow the instructions to activate a Badger account.
  2. Complete the Cameca NanoSIMS 50L Project Description Form.