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Top-down approach to studying biological components using ToF-SIMS

Journal article
Authors Alan M. Piwowar
John S. Fletcher
Nicholas P. Lockyer
John C. Vickerman
Published in Surface and Interface Analysis
Volume 43
Issue 1-2
Pages 265–268
ISSN 0142-2421
Publication year 2011
Published at
Pages 265–268
Language en
Subject categories Analytical Chemistry, Cell Biology


We present in this article a novel approach to identifying subcellular components from spectral images collected with ToF-SIMS. The method utilizes a separation technique to isolate and enrich cellular fractions which are then examined with ToF-SIMS to identify peak or peak ratio markers to assign reference spectra. The ultimate aim of the project is to utilize these reference spectra to identify cellular components from spectral images. We present data from three such extracts (nuclei, cytosol and membrane-bound organelles) which confirms that characteristic spectral differences do exist between these systems. These results indicate that such a ‘top-down’ approach to subcellular analysis can aid cellular imaging with ToF-SIMS.

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