Ambient Nanoscale Mass Spectrometry

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Science  09 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5510, pp. 1863
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5510.1863a

Surface analysis by mass spectrometry often is limited in spatial resolution. High resolution (∼60 nanometers) can be achieved if tightly focused ion beams are used to desorb surface species, but such approaches require putting the sample under high vacuum. Laser microprobe analysis can be used for samples under ambient conditions, but the resolution is limited to ∼2 μm and more typically is ∼25 μm. Stöckle et al. have used near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) tips not only to image surfaces but also to deliver laser pulses that desorb surface species into the ambient environment. The desorbed species are then taken up through a microscale nozzle into a mass spectrometer. The sampled area can be re-imaged with the NSOM apparatus. They achieved spatial resolutions of 200 nm and were able to detect quantities as small as 2 attomoles. — PDS

Anal. Chem., in press.

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