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Enhancing Secondary Ion Yields in Time of Flight-Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Using Water Cluster Primary Beams

Journal article
Authors Sadia Sheraz
Andrew Barber
John S. Fletcher
Nicholas P. Lockyer
John C. Vickerman
Published in Analytical Chemistry
Volume 85
Issue 12
Pages 5654−5658
ISSN 0003-2700
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 5654−5658
Language en
Subject categories Analytical Chemistry


Low secondary ion yields from organic and biological molecules are the principal limitation on the future exploitation of time of flight-secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) as a surface and materials analysis technique. On the basis of the hypothesis that increasing the density of water related fragments in the ion impact zone would enhance proton mediated reactions, a prototype water cluster ion beam has been developed using supersonic jet expansion methodologies that enable ion yields using a 10 keV (H2O)1000+ beam to be compared with those obtained using a 10 keV Ar1000+ beam. The ion yields from four standard compounds, arginine, haloperidol, DPPC, and angiotensin II, have been measured under static+ and high ion dose conditions. Ion yield enhancements relative to the argon beam on the order of 10 or more have been observed for all the compounds such that the molecular ion yield per a 1 μm pixel can be as high as 20, relative to 0.05 under an argon beam. The water beam has also been shown to partially lift the matrix effect in a 1:10 mixture of haloperidol and dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) that suppresses the haloperidol signal. These results provide encouragement that further developments of the water cluster beam to higher energies and larger cluster sizes will provide the ion yield enhancements necessary for the future development of TOF-SIMS.

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