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Annu Rev Phys Chem. 2010;61:305-22. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physchem.040808.090249.

Biological cluster mass spectrometry.

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1
Department of Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA. nxw@psu.edu

Abstract

This article reviews the new physics and new applications of secondary ion mass spectrometry using cluster ion probes. These probes, particularly C(60), exhibit enhanced molecular desorption with improved sensitivity owing to the unique nature of the energy-deposition process. In addition, these projectiles are capable of eroding molecular solids while retaining the molecular specificity of mass spectrometry. When the beams are microfocused to a spot on the sample, bioimaging experiments in two and three dimensions are feasible. We describe emerging theoretical models that allow the energy-deposition process to be understood on an atomic and molecular basis. Moreover, experiments on model systems are described that allow protocols for imaging on biological materials to be implemented. Finally, we present recent applications of imaging to biological tissue and single cells to illustrate the future directions of this methodology.

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