The coaxial lens design allows the primary beam to be focused to sub-50 nm for Cs+ and O- primary ions.

The NanoSIMS 50L uses a rastered ion beam to scan across the sample surface. Secondary ions are sputtered from the sample and extracted to a double-focusing magnetic-sector mass spectrometer. Multiple detectors allow the parallel mapping of up to seven ion species, simultaneously.

The high-resolution ion-imaging capability is a powerful and unique feature of the NanoSIMS 50L, and is highly suitable for elemental or isotopic mapping at the sub-µm scale. This is a particularly powerful technique for mapping the distribution of isotopic tracers (for example, 15N or 13C in biological experiments). Isotopic ratios can be determined with a precision of one per cent in favourable cases.


  • Trace element mapping at sub-µm scale: all elements from H to U
  • In situ isotope measurements at µm scale
  • Depth profiling, 3D imaging

Instrument specifications

  • Cs+ and O- ion sources to <50nm resolution
  • Multicollection: seven Faraday cups, seven electron multipliers
  • Electron gun for charge compensation
  • Secondary electron detector
  • Distribution of metals in ore bearing minerals and rocks

Typical analyses

Biology and biomedical science:

  • Mapping metallic ions in cancer cells after treatment with anti-cancer compounds
  • Determining isotopic variations within labelled microbial communities
  • Locating elements and isotopes within plant and animal tissue

Earth, planetary and environmental science:

  • Distribution of metals in ore bearing minerals and rocks
  • Element distributions in rocks and meteorites
  • Variations in elemental ratios as climate proxies in marine biominerals
  • Carbon and Nitrogen mapping in ancient sedimentary structures to determine biogenicity

Materials science:

  • Compositional changes with depth through semiconductors and thin films
  • Compositional changes around inclusions in metallic alloys and other materials

NanoSIMS sample preparation

Sample preparation is extremely important for getting the best results from your NanoSIMS session.

Further Information

Ion Probe Facility Access




  • (+61 8) 6488 1548


Microscopy Australia and the National Resources Science Precinct have teamed-up to provide this world-class ion-microprobe facility for the benefit of all Australian researchers.