David Touboul, Felix Kollmer, Ewald Niehuis, Alain Brunelle, and Olivier Laprévote
J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2005, 16 (10), pp 1608-1618

A new liquid metal ion gun (LMIG) filled with bismuth has been fitted to a time-of-flight–secondary ion mass spectrometer (TOF-SIMS). This source provides beams of Binq+ clusters with n = 1-7 and q = 1 and 2. The appropriate clusters have much better intensities and efficiencies than the Au3+ gold clusters recently used in TOF-SIMS imaging, and allow better lateral and mass resolution. The different beams delivered by this ion source have been tested for biological imaging of rat brain sections. The results show a great improvement of the imaging capabilities in terms of accessible mass range and useful lateral resolution. Secondary ion yields Y, disappearance cross sections σ, efficiencies E = Y/σ , and useful lateral resolutions ΔL have been compared using the different bismuth clusters, directly onto the surface of rat brain sections and for several positive and negative secondary ions with m/z ranging from 23 up to more than 750. The efficiency and the imaging capabilities of the different primary ions are compared by taking into account the primary ion current for reasonable acquisition times. The two best primary ions are Bi3+ and Bi52+. The Bi3+ ion beam has a current at least five times larger than Au3+ and therefore is an excellent beam for large-area imaging. Bi52+ ions exhibit large secondary ions yields and a reasonable intensity making them suitable for small-area images with an excellent sensitivity and a possible useful lateral resolution <400 nm.




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