Quentin P. Vanbellingen, Nicolas Elie, Michael J. Eller, Serge Della-Negra, David Touboul, Alain Brunelle
In Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), pulsed and focused primary ion beams enable mass spectrometry imaging, a method which is particularly useful to map various small molecules such as lipids at the surface of biological samples. When using TOF-SIMS instruments, the focusing modes of the primary ion beam delivered by liquid metal ion guns can provide either a mass resolution of several thousand or a sub-µm lateral resolution, but the combination of both is generally not possible.
With a TOF-SIMS setup, a delayed extraction applied to secondary ions has been studied extensively on rat cerebellum sections in order to compensate for the effect of long primary ion bunches.
The use of a delayed extraction has been proven to be an efficient solution leading to unique features, i.e. a mass resolution up to 10000 at m/z 385.4 combined with a lateral resolution of about 400 nm. Simulations of ion trajectories confirm the experimental determination of optimal delayed extraction and allow understanding of the behavior of ions as a function of their mass-to-charge ratio.
Although the use of a delayed extraction has been well known for many years and is very popular in MALDI, it is much less used in TOF-SIMS. Its full characterization now enables secondary ion images to be recorded in a single run with a submicron spatial resolution and with a mass resolution of several thousand. This improvement is very useful when analyzing lipids on tissue sections, or rare, precious, or very small size samples. © 2015 The Authors. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
See online : Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2015, 29, 1187-1195