Development of Molecular Concentration Mapping Techniques Using MeV Focussed Ion Beams

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

6 December 2013

Start Date

4 April 2014

Expected End Date

4 April 2018

Completed Date

11 December 2019


Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) has developed over the years into a powerful analytical tool for elemental analysis. Over the past 40 years these techniques have been utilized to make molecular concentration maps of surfaces and even to provide full 3D maps of molecular materials. Conventionally low energy atomic and cluster ions (keV) are used to physically sputter the materials from the surface. Recently it has been demonstrated that the SIMS technique is also possible to achieve using higher energy MeV ions and unlike the keV ions the MeV ions also yield a PIXE signal and can be extracted into air, providing a completely new working regime for the SIMS analysis technique. Development of this new MeV-SIMS technique for molecular concentration mapping in combination with Ion Beam Analysis - especially the PIXE technique- for elemental analysis is the target of this CRP; perspective applications are foreseen in the field of art, archaeology, materials science, organic electronics, forensics, geology, bio-medical science etc.

Specific objectives

An improved understanding of the stopping of heavy ions and their interaction with the electronic system, and the production of characteristic X-rays and particle ejection

Exploration of the applications of the improved analytical capabilities, providing, for example, and not limited to, analysis of molecular binders in art objects to aid provenancing, and optimizing manufacturing processes.

Improved analytical capabilities of accelerator-based ion beam techniques, in particular for high resolution imaging of molecular concentrations of complex samples

Stay in touch