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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2010 Mar 15;24(5):593-8. doi: 10.1002/rcm.4423.

Method for improved secondary ion yields in cluster secondary ion mass spectrometry.

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Surface and Microanalysis Science Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA.


A method to increase useful yields of organic molecules is investigated by cluster secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Glycerol drops were deposited onto various inkjet-printed arrays and the organic molecules in the film were rapidly incorporated into the drop. The resulting glycerol/analyte drops were then probed with fullerene primary ions under dynamic SIMS conditions. High primary ion beam currents were shown to aid in the mixing of the glycerol drop, thus replenishing the probed area and sustaining high secondary ion yields. Integrated secondary ion signals for tetrabutylammonium iodide and cocaine in the glycerol drops were enhanced by more than a factor of 100 compared with an analogous area on the surface, and a factor of 1000 over the lifetime of the glycerol drop. Once the analyte of interest is incorporated into the glycerol microdrop, the solution chemistry can be tailored for enhanced secondary ion yields, with examples shown for cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine (RDX) chloride adduct formation. In addition, depositing localized glycerol drops may enhance analyte secondary ion count rates to high enough levels to allow for site-specific chemical maps of molecules in complex matrices such as biological tissues.


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