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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010 Jan;396(1):151-62. doi: 10.1007/s00216-009-3031-2. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Mass spectrometry imaging of rat brain sections: nanomolar sensitivity with MALDI versus nanometer resolution by TOF-SIMS.

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  • 1Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles, CNRS UPR 2301, Avenue de la Terrasse, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.


Mass spectrometry imaging is becoming a more and more widely used method for chemical mapping of organic and inorganic compounds from various surfaces, especially tissue sections. Two main different techniques are now available: matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionizaton, where the sample, preliminary coated by an organic matrix, is analyzed by a UV laser beam; and secondary ion mass spectrometry, for which the target is directly submitted to a focused ion beam. Both techniques revealed excellent performances for lipid mapping of tissue surfaces. This article will discuss similarities, differences, and specificities of ion images generated by these two techniques in terms of sample preparation, sensitivity, ultimate spatial resolution, and structural analysis.

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