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(LBSA) School of Pharmacy

ToF-SIMS Lab: +44 (0)115 84 66276


Location: Laboratory of Biophysics and Surface Analysis (LBSA) at the School of Pharmacy. Manufacturer: Ion-TOF GmbH, Münster, Germany
(Directors: Profs. Martyn Davies & Saul Tendler)



In September 2001, the Centre took delivery of a Time-of-Flight (ToF) SIMS instrument funded by EPSRC through the Strategic Equipment Initiative. This instrument, the TOF-SIMS IV from ION-TOF GmbH of Münster, Germany, was equipped with a liquid metal (Ga+) ion gun (LMIG) for spectroscopy and imaging at a spatial resolution of better than 100 nm. In addition, depth profiling can be performed using either Cs+ or Ar+ (combined with crater analysis using the LMIG). The reflectron ToF mass analyser has a mass resolution in excess of 10,000.

Recent upgrades to the instrument have been funded by The East Midlands Development Agency (emda) New Dimension in Health Care Analysis Project. These upgrades include a Bi+ cluster ion LMIG and a C60+ ion source. This equipment is available for industrial access through the funding provided by emda .

The Cs+ or C60+ ion sources can also be used to perform analysis on materials where they are deemed more suitable than using Bi+.

Full temperature control of the sample in the analysis position over the range 100 to +600°C is possible, including temperature programmed SIMS, and samples can be cooled in an inert atmosphere prior to insertion into the instrument. A 5-axis multisample stage is fully automated and provides rotation for high resolution depth profiling.


ToF-SIMS set-up at The Boots Science Building

Images Courtesy of The Welcome Trust

SIMS close-up

loading variable temperature sample holder


  • Capabilities
    • Sensitivity down to ppm (femtomole)
    • Spatial resolution better than 100nm
    • Mass resolution > 7000 at m/z = 29
    • Depth profiles with a depth nm resolution
    • Image areas from µm to cm. scale
    • 3-D elemental mapping

  • Wide range of samples
    • Conductors, semi-conductors and insulators
    • Sample size from a few mm. to 10 cm
    • Powders, foils, biological materials, ...

  • Sample temperature management
    • Cooling to -100°C
    • Heating to 600°C
    • Temperature programmes

  • Primary ion guns
    • Bi+ (analysis only)
    • Cs+ (analysis & depth profiling)
    • C60+ (analysis & depth profiling

Information and Resources for (prospective) SIMS users:

  • Sample Preparation and Shipment Instructions

  • An EndNote database of SIMS papers can be downloaded here:

Please E-mail Frank your suggestions to improve this resource!

(requires ISI ResearchSoft EndNote)
  • A4 poster showing some of the diverse capabilities of the ToF-SIMS system


(all posters in pdf-format, requires Adobe Reader)

Adobe Reader Download


A4 versions of posters presented at SIMS Europe 2004 (26-29 September 2004, Münster, Germany):
    • The Detection and Characterisation of Inclusions in Archaeological Glass with ToF-SIMS
    • The Importance of Cationisation in SIMS Spectral Interpretation as Observed For Surfactant Interaction With a Plant Leaf Surface
    • Using Enzymes to Switch Surface Wettability: ToF-SIMS and XPS Analysis


Last updated: 22.10.2007

For all comments about this website please contact: David Scurr