Ion Beams and their Applications

Ion beams come in many shapes and sizes, with multiple source options and applications. A minefield of options awaits if you are unfamiliar with them. This application note will shed some light on Ionoptika’s range of ion beams to help you choose the right one for your application.


  1. Sputter vs Analytical Ion Beams
  2. C60 Beams
  3. Gas Cluster Ion Beams
  4. Liquid Metal Ion Beams
  5. Plasma Ion Beams
  6. Conclusions

Sputter vs Analytical Ion Beams

We split our range of ion beams into two groups based on their applications or purpose – sputter beams and analytical beams.

Sputter Beams

While all ion beams will sputter a surface, we make this distinction based on the area and speed with which this occurs. Sputter beams have three characteristic features: high current, large spot size, and wide field of view. They deliver a large dose of ions over a wide area as quickly as possible to optimise etch rates.

Sputter beams remove material before analysis, either for cleaning purposes or for depth profiling through the sample. Techniques employing sputter beams include SIMS, XPS, SEM, TEM, and Auger.

Analytical Beams

Rather than being used to facilitate analysis using a different technique, analytical beams perform the analysis themselves. They also have three characteristic features; wide energy range, small spot size, and variable current control. These features give the user excellent control over the beam characteristics, enabling them to optimise their experiment.

Analytical beams are primarily used for secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and work well in traditional focused ion beam (FIB) applications such as secondary electron imaging and FIB milling.

C60 Beams

C60 molecule

Carbon-60, or just C60, is a fullerene molecule consisting of sixty carbon atoms formed into a hollow sphere, with a shape very similar to a soccer ball. The first commercial C60 ion beam was produced in 2002 by Ionoptika in collaboration with the University of Manchester, and since then, we have sold more than 150 units worldwide.

Compared to monatomic ion beams, C60 beams result in a much “gentler” sputtering action, reducing molecular fragmentation and damage to sub-surface layers. When employed as an analytical beam, this gentle sputtering action significantly increases sensitivity to intact molecular ions.

As the C60 molecule is larger (~ 7 Å) than the lattice constant for most materials, it also does not channel through the lattice the way monatomic ions do, reducing preferential sputtering. C60 beams exhibit incredibly uniform sputter rates across a wide range of materials, including challenging poly-crystalline materials.

The properties of C60 make it suitable for both sputtering and analysis. Ionoptika offers three C60 ion beam systems: a broad-beam sputtering system, the C60-20S, and two analytical beams, the C60-20 and C60-40.

See our application note all about C60 beams for more information.

Gas Cluster Ion Beams

Illustration of a GCIB sputtering material from a surface

Gas cluster ion beams (GCIB) are high-energy beams of cluster ions, ideal for sputtering and analysing organic matter. GCIBs are an incredibly versatile ion source, as both the ion species and the beam properties can be varied, allowing the user to tune the beam to the needs of their experiment.

The source operates through the adiabatic expansion of gas in a vacuum, causing rapid cooling and cluster formation. The clusters are then ionised through electron bombardment and accelerated towards the target. The size of the cluster is a vital parameter, and users can adjust this over a wide range.

Organic Analysis

GCIBs are the ideal choice for sputtering organic matter. Etch rates of organic matter are orders of magnitude higher than for metals or semiconductors, making cluster beams such as the GCIB 10S an excellent tool for surface cleaning. The cluster distributes the ion’s energy across all constituent atoms/molecules, resulting in a very gentle sputtering effect and almost no damage to layers underneath—GCIBs perform much better than C60 on both fronts.

GCIBs must be operated at high energy to maximise their benefits for SIMS, as the secondary ion yield increases as a function of beam energy. We currently offer a 40kV variant, the GCIB 40, and a 70kV variant, the GCIB SM.

The J105 SIMS utilises the benefits of gas cluster beams for organic analysis. Combining the gentle sputter action of large cluster ions with increased secondary ion yield has extended the usable mass range to > m/z 2500.

Choice of gas

The versatility of GCIBs comes from having a choice of input gas. Argon is the most common as it is an inert gas that forms clusters easily, but Ar/CO2 mixtures and pure CO2 gas are also becoming standard for SIMS applications.

The stronger van der Waals forces between CO2 molecules result in much larger clusters than would be available for Ar – up to 20,000 in some cases. A wider range provides greater control of the all-important E/n value (energy per nucleon). Research has shown that optimising E/n results in an enhancement of the secondary ion signal. The presence of O ions at the surface may also improve the ionisation probability – further enhancing ion yield.

We have recently developed a GCIB source that runs on water vapour, which is currently available as an optional add-on for the J105 SIMS. Water molecules have even greater binding energy and can form enormous clusters of up to 60,000 molecules. Water clusters provide secondary ion yields up to 500 times greater than argon and are the best choice for state-of-the-art biological SIMS.

See our application note on choosing the best GCIB for your application for more detailed information.

Liquid Metal Ion Beams

Liquid metal ion beams, also known as LMIS, or LMIG, are a well-established source technology. The source operates by a liquid metal reservoir feeding a blunt tungsten tip, from which a strong electric field extracts ions. Due to their elegant and reliable design, FIB systems have been using LMIS for decades. Ionoptika offers a 25 kV LMIG system in two variants; the IOG 25AU gold-cluster system and the IOG 25GA gallium system.

Liquid metal beams produce monatomic or small-cluster ion beams, such as Au+, Ga+, and Au3+. They feature high currents and small spot sizes (< 100 nm), making them ideal for high-resolution analysis applications.

Small, high-energy ions can penetrate far beneath the surface before dissipating their energy. Known as channelling, this causes significant sub-surface damage, making depth profiling unreliable. It also results in considerable fragmentation, making LMIS more suited to analysing hard materials.

Plasma Ion Beams

Plasma ion beam

Plasma ion sources are characterised by incredibly high brightness, making them ideal for high throughput applications. A single plasma source can run on various gases without changing parts, providing flexibility. Gases available for our plasma ion beams include hydrogen, helium, oxygen, nitrogen, argon, and xenon.

Plasma sources are monatomic and do not form clusters, resulting in lower energy distributions and smaller spot sizes. Combined with their high brightness, this leads to a very high current density beam.

Plasma beams are an excellent choice where the primary goal is high-volume etching or milling. For analysis purposes, plasma beams best suit harder materials such as metals, semiconductors, and inorganics.

FLIG – Floating Low Energy Ion Beam

The FLIG 5 is a unique ion beam system based on a floating column design. The design enables ultra-low energy operation to 200 eV while still delivering a high current. Operating at such low impact energies significantly reduces the beam’s penetration depth, improving the depth resolution. Due to its high performance at ultra-low energies, the FLIG 5 has been the industry standard for shallow junction depth profiling for almost two decades.


The table below compares Ionoptika’s ion beam products under several categories discussed in this article (best viewed on desktop).

C60 Ion Beams
C60-20S C60+, C60++, C60+++ 5 – 20 kV 100 μm 50 nA SPUTTER Organic, biological, inorganic, metals
C60-20 C60+, C60++, C60+++ 5 –20 kV 2 μm 2 nA ANALYTICAL Organic, biological, inorganic, metals
C60-40 C60+, C60++, C60+++ 10 – 40 kV 300 nm 1 nA ANALYTICAL Organic, biological, inorganic, metals
Gas Cluster Ion Beams
GCIB 10S Arn+, (CO2)n+, or (Ar/CO2)n+ 1 – 10 kV 250 μm 60 nA SPUTTER Organic & biological, polymers
GCIB 40 Arn+, (CO2)n+, (Ar/CO2)n+, or (H2O)n+ 5 – 40 kV 3 μm 200 pA ANALYTICAL Organic & biological, polymers
GCIB 70/SM Arn+, (CO2)n+, (Ar/CO2)n+, or (H2O)n+ 20 – 70 kV 1.5 μm 300 pA ANALYTICAL Inorganic, organic & biological, polymers
Liquid Metal Ion Beams
IOG 25AU Au+, Au++, Au2+, Au3+, Au3++ 5 – 25 kV 100 nm 10 nA ANALYTICAL Inorganics, metals, semiconductors
IOG 25Ga Ga+, 69Ga+ 5 – 25 kV 50 nm 20 nA ANALYTICAL Inorganics, metals, semiconductors
Plasma Ion Beams
IOG 30ECR N2+, O2+, Ar+, & Xe+ 5 – 30 kV 500 nm 500 nA ANALYTICAL Semiconductors, metals, inorganics
IOG 30D H2+, He+, N2+, O2+, & Ar+ 5 – 30 kV 500 nm 500 nA ANALYTICAL Semiconductors, metals, inorganics
FLIG 5 H2+, He+, N2+, O2+, & Ar+ 0.2 – 5 kV 15 μm 500 nA ANALYTICAL Semiconductors, depth profiling

Employee Spotlight: Dr Robert Bianchini – Technical Support Engineer

Ionoptika is very proud of its skilled and dedicated staff, who together with our loyal users make up our global community. Today we interview our Technical Support Engineer Robert Bianchini.

Robert joined our team in 2019 and is the person you come into contact with whenever you have a question or need a hand. Today we learn more about him and his job.

Employee Spotlight: Dr Robert Bianchini – Technical Support Engineer

How long have you worked at Ionoptika and what career path brought you to us?

I have been working at Ionoptika since September 2019, so almost four years to date. This is my first full time job since completing my undergraduate course and Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh.

Why did you decide to study science when you were in school or university?

When I started High School, I didn’t think I would end up pursuing a career in science. In fact, I had plans to become a computer games programmer, or a journalist, even though chemistry had always been one of my better subjects.

It was only in my last couple of years in high school that I learned about Analytical and Forensic Chemistry, and its power to help study the world and resolve practical problems, whether it was finding out “who-dun-it?” in the latest CSI episode, or work out how much pollution is caused by cruise ships in Venice. But what really tipped me over to pursuing a science career was the final school year’s Chemistry project on analysing the water purity and contaminants in the local river, in which I even played the key role of wading into the river with my waterproof clothes to take water samples for the project.

Can you describe a typical day working here as a technical support engineer?

My main job as customer support is to be the first point of contact for our customers, and help them out when our systems don’t work as expected in the field, or when they have some technical questions about our systems.

There isn’t really a typical day for working in this role; I could be remote logging in to one of our customers’ J105 instruments to diagnose software issues or align a column on one day, replying to technical questions on the next day, or arranging the return of older items back to our offices for repair the following day, etc. Sometimes I get to do all the above on the same day!

When I am not helping customers, I update and expand our Service knowledge base with articles on how to solve the issues customers encountered so far, to aid our Service team should they encounter this issue again, and update our Manuals documentation, to prevent these issues from occurring in the first place.

What has been your best memory or achievement in your working life?

If you include my PhD as part of my working life, I would say that my biggest achievement was getting the planar-LIF upgrade to my PhD experiment to work, and developing the imaging data acquisition programs which allowed me to capture the images and make movies of OH radicals scattering off liquid surfaces in a 2D plane, effectively pioneering a new way to observe and study these scattering experiments.

What has been your best memory or achievement in your time at Ionoptika?

My two biggest accomplishments so far at Ionoptika have been:

  • Planning, organizing and running a tour and presentation of our company and our products for members of the local section of the Royal Society of Chemistry,
  • Assisting a customer in China with the commissioning of two of our instruments, done entirely via remote log-in.

But it is still quite early in my career, and I’m sure I will achieve many more things throughout my time here at Ionoptika.

Did you encounter any hardships in your career path?

The most difficult time in my career at Ionoptika was during the COVID pandemic during lockdown. I had only just moved into my role as Technical Support when the lockdown started, and as I didn’t have a car nor a driving licence, I couldn’t get to the office safely within the lockdown restrictions.

As such, I was working from home in a small flat all throughout lockdown, doing customer support tasks. But thanks to our Service team, I quickly learnt useful troubleshooting information, and was soon able to reply to customer enquiries on my own.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I am a very avid reader, reading anything from sci-fi and fantasy books, mystery books, comic books and manga, and online web serials and webcomics. I love reading and buying books so much that my flat is slowly turning into a small library with all the books I’ve read so far! Last I counted, I have over 400 books in my flat alone, and I’m sure I’ll be reaching 500 soon!

When not reading, I love watching movies, and going out to play card games tournaments of Magic the Gathering with my friends.

Interested in becoming part of our team? Visit our Careers page.

Employee Spotlight: Supreetha Jayaram – Software Engineer

Ionoptika is very proud of its skilled and dedicated staff, who together with our loyal users make up our global community. Today, we’re interviewing another one of our Software Engineers, Supreetha Jayaram.

Supreetha came to the UK from India to study Computer Science and joined our team in 2020.

Employee Spotlight: Supreetha Jayaram – Software Engineer

How long have you worked at Ionoptika and what career path brought you to us?

It’s been almost three years since I joined Ionoptika. I got my bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Eastpoint College of Engineering and Technology in India in 2016. Then I moved to the UK to continue my studies at the University of Hertfordshire.

After finishing my master’s I worked as a software developer for a few years before finally joining Ionoptika.

Why did you decide to study science when you were at school or university?

I decided to study science because I have always been fascinated by the natural world and had a deep curiosity about how things work. As a child, I was constantly asking questions and seeking answers. Science provided a structured and systematic approach to explore these questions and find evidence-based explanations, so I was drawn to it.

The ability to solve complex problems and engage in critical thinking was also a major point of interest for me. I enjoyed the challenge of analysing data, conducting experiments, and connecting the dots to understand the underlying principles. The process of unravelling mysteries and finding solutions was incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.

What got you interested in computer science?

I first became interested in coding when I was in high school. I was curious about how computers work in general, so I grew interested in all the coding languages that were behind it.

To this day, I still remember that my first programming was in C++, and our computer science teacher would give us small tasks, like designing backgrounds, displaying images, graphics and others, which I always enjoyed and had fun with.

Also, I recognized that studying computer science could open doors to various professions, from research and academia to industry and entrepreneurship. This versatility and the potential for growth and success in the field were also significant factors in my choice.

Did you encounter any hardships in your career path?

Being a foreigner in a new country is never easy, especially when looking for a job. Also, in previous roles, I often found myself to be the only woman in the room, which wasn’t necessarily that bad, but sometimes it made me feel like I didn’t belong, and I didn’t have someone to truly confide in.

The underrepresentation in the software engineering field can make it more challenging to find role models, mentors, and supportive communities, which can affect the sense of belonging in the industry.

Compared to my previous experiences, at Ionoptika there are more women working in technical and scientific roles and this is incredibly empowering and enriching.

It also fosters a sense of solidarity and support because we can share our unique experiences, challenges, and triumphs, creating a strong network of mutual encouragement.

I think this brings more diverse perspectives and approaches to problem-solving, leading to more innovative and well-rounded solutions.

What is your role here?

I’m a software engineer, which means that I work on the existing legacy projects and handle the IT of the company, so that everything is running smoothly.

I write code and develop software applications, which includes analysing user requirements, designing software solutions and efficient software, maintaining the IT infrastructure and moving to a better platform when needed. I also test software to identify and fix bugs, ensuring that it meets quality standards and helping customers when they encounter any issues.

Part of my job is interacting with product managers and test engineers to ensure that software development aligns with project goals and requirements, so you will often see me around gathering information from different people in different departments for the work that needs to be done.

I also talk to the customer support team if anything is needed and with other suppliers, if there’s any issue or information needed.

Can you describe a typical day working here?

It depends, sometimes I may have a busy start in the morning trying to fix a software bug of higher priority so the work can be carried out smoothly.

Sometimes, my day revolves around testing different units as a part of research and development and then documenting all the findings, and sometimes I’ll just be writing codes in general.

It depends entirely on what needs to be done so the work goes smoothly!

What do you enjoy most about working at Ionoptika and what do you love most about your job?

What I like the most about working here is that the atmosphere is homely, and people are very friendly.

My job includes adapting to changing requirements, learning new programming languages or frameworks, and embracing best practices in software development, so there’s always something new to learn.

I really like that people are so supportive and encouraging when I want to explore something that is outside my field of knowledge or even when I make mistakes while learning.

What I like most about my job is writing codes, because helping other people get their work done in a smarter and more efficient way is very important to me.

Also, I like talking to different people regarding the requirements needed for writing codes and getting the job done.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love travelling, I’m always looking for the next places to visit.

I also like dancing; I do Salsa and now I want to learn Tango as well.

Finally, I’m also taking piano classes online.

Interested in becoming part of our team? Visit our Careers page.

Employee Spotlight: Grace Fox – Software Engineer

Ionoptika is very proud of its skilled and dedicated staff, who together with our loyal users make up our global community. With Women in Engineering Day coming up on 23rd June, we’d like to introduce our Software Engineer Grace Fox.

Grace has been part of our team since 2019, and in our interview we asked her what got her interested in science and what she enjoys the most about her job here.

How long have you worked at Ionoptika and what career path brought you to us?

Employee Spotlight: Grace Fox – Software Engineer

I have been at Ionoptika for nearly four years. Before I joined Ionoptika I was studying for my Master’s in Physics at Liverpool University.

I used XPS to obtain data for my dissertation and enjoyed working with research instruments, which led me to look at roles linked to scientific instrumentation.

Why did you decide to study science when you were at school or university?

I chose physics because I am fascinated by the building blocks of the world around us.

Once I heard there were particles smaller than electrons and protons I needed to know; how much smaller? How does it all fit together?

Physics is definitely a subject where the more you learn, an appreciation is developed for how much more there is to understand.

Did you encounter any hardships in your career path?

I lost my Mum while I was studying at university and found revising while grieving challenging in its own way.

In industry I have had roles both in software and test engineering and have seen through my own experience that working in physics is open to anyone passionate and interested.

What is your role here? Can you describe a typical day working here?

I am a software engineer. My working day is mostly dictated by which project I am focusing on- some projects require direct connections to hardware so you will find me sat in the test area switching around cables to hardware.

The data analysis projects do not need hardware and require focused thought, so you will most likely find me at my desk staring at grids drawn in my notepad (it always starts with a grid!).

What do you enjoy most about working at Ionoptika and what do you love most about your job?

At Ionoptika I love how much creative control we are given in software when offering our own solutions to problems.

There is no one way to solve an issue and if you can prove your idea is robust, it will very likely be used in the final product.

I love the challenge of solving logic-based problems in my role; if a customer reports a feature is ‘not working’ this can mean many things. Using problem-solving along with an understanding of physics to deduce the cause of issues is a rewarding process and satisfying to see the programs running smoothly again!

What has been your best memory or achievement in your working life and/or at Ionoptika?

My biggest achievement at Ionoptika is being part of the team who wrote the 3D analysis software. I had no experience with 3D rendering before the project and dedicated myself to learning OpenGL for some months in 2022.

To have a functional program at the end and see the positive response from researchers and customers has been wonderful.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy working with children and coach gymnastics some evenings in the week.

I also love getting out in nature and have been exploring the South Downs and the New Forest since moving here from Yorkshire.

Interested in becoming part of our team? Visit our Careers page.

Employee Spotlight: Mark Mills – Senior Scientist

Ionoptika is very proud of its skilled and dedicated staff, who together with our loyal users make up our global community. We’re thus continuing our posts to shine the spotlight on some of the people who make Ionoptika.

Today, we talk to our Senior Scientist Mark Mills. In our interview he told us about his work and his passion for science.

Mark Mills - Senior Scientist

How long have you worked at Ionoptika and what career path brought you to us?

I joined Ionoptika in October 2022 having previously worked at different mass spectrometry companies in similar roles for more than 20 years. Throughout my career I have been involved in designing novel mass spectrometers and ion optical solutions.

I initially came across Ionoptika while working at SAI in Manchester, when we collaborated on the first J105 back in the 2000’s. I’ve kept in touch with various people at Ionoptika since then and got the opportunity to come on board last year.

Why did you decide to study science when you were at school or university?

I’ve always had an interest in Maths and Science, and it was the obvious choice to continue studying this, which lead on to Physics and later ion optics and mass spectrometry.

I’m always keen to understand how things work and the underlying physical principles which has still carried on to today as we try to better understand the principles and processes behind our instruments.

Can you describe a typical day working here and what you enjoy most about it?

I really enjoy the variation: on a typical day I can spend the morning looking at the cluster distribution of the GCIB-SM where we can get water clusters with masses into the mega Dalton range, then the afternoon simulating the collision focusing of elements and small molecules through the quadrupole on the J105.

I’m fortunate in that I get to work on the full range of Ionoptika products which is a real treat for anyone with a keen interest in understanding scientific instrument.

What has been your best memory or achievement in your working life?

I’ve had many happy memories and achievements in my working life but still my favourite feeling is seeing an Instrument that I have designed in a customer lab producing great science.

Seeing the latest J105 instruments producing fantastic performance that we couldn’t have imagined when we first started all those years ago.

It’s a real credit to Ionoptika and many other people who have worked on it through the years to see what it has become and it’s nice to think that I had that involvement in it.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time I still manage to play football although at a somewhat slower pace now!

I enjoy the outdoors and am a keen cyclist although the Lycra doesn’t do me any favours!

I also have a 4-year-old cockapoo who has boundless energy, so I spend a large amount of time walking her.

Interested in becoming part of our team? Visit our Careers page.

Employee Spotlight: Dr Gianfranco Aresta – Project Engineer

Ionoptika is very proud of its skilled and dedicated staff, who together with our loyal users make up our global community. We’re therefore continuing our posts to shine the spotlight on some of the people who make Ionoptika.

Today we’d like to introduce our Project Engineer Dr Gianfranco Aresta. Gianfranco is originally from Italy and he has been part of our team since 2020. In this interview we asked him about his work at Ionoptika.

How long have you worked at Ionoptika?

It’s been almost 3 years since I started working for Ionoptika. Before joining, I was working as a Senior Scientist at Ilika, a solid-state batteries company in Southampton, where I worked on process development for thin films Li ions solid state micro-batteries.

What career path brought you to us?

I got into the world of science in high school, which was a Scientific Lyceum in Italy. After that, it only seemed natural to continue my studies in the scientific field and I studied Chemistry (Structure and properties of matter) at the University of Bari.

I received my Master of Science degree in 2007 and my PhD in Applied Physics at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands in 2012. During my years in university, I worked on vacuum based thin film (polymeric and ceramic) growth study, characterization, and monomer-surface interaction.

I then worked in several industrial positions in the Netherlands and UK, specialising in PVD industrial deposition systems, arc evaporation and sputtering and led the development of new arc evaporation sources for metals and alloys.

And that’s, very briefly, the path that brought me here.

What is your role here?

My role at Ionoptika is Project Engineer with special emphasis on the Q-One single-ion implantation instrument, which is our focused ion beam platform for advanced device fabrication and nanoscale materials engineering, used in the applications of quantum research and engineering.

I have also recently been responsible for the management of an Innovate funded project in collaboration with the University of Surrey, which revolves around the development of a number of exotic alloy and ion sources for the Q-One instrument.

Can you describe a typical day working at Ionoptika and what you enjoy the most about it?

Working in R&D means that I generally plan my own work and there are experiments/tests/and analyses (data-analysis) that take up most of my daily routine, but also, since I manage a development project run with a university, I interact frequently with postdocs and researchers outside Ionoptika.

On top of this, I also provide support to our customer service team.

There are several things I enjoy about working at Ionoptika. First of all, the atmosphere is nice: colleagues are friendly, and I am quite happy to work with them.

The thing that I like the most about my job is the continuous learning process related to the R&D environment.

What has been your best memory or achievement in your working life?

There are several. For instance, in my previous role, it’s when I succeeded in obtaining an optimal crystalline quality cathode for Li ions batteries, by using the deposition process which I developed.

One of my best achievements at Ionoptika is probably when I started seeing the first results on my LMIG source design.

We’re moving towards the end of the Innovate project now and we have exceeded all the goals set for us, which is very rewarding. Thanks to this project I created a very close collaboration with the University of Surrey as well.

Finally, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Playing music instruments: I’m a bass and double bass player, but I do spend more time on guitar nowadays and on drums with my son. Yes, I really do like playing music.

Other than that, I like watching and going to football matches (unfortunate local Saints supporter) and recently I started motorbiking.

Interested in becoming part of our team? Visit our Careers page.

The J105 SIMS at the Rosalind Franklin Institute

The J105 at the Franklin

After a concerted effort of moving and installation, one of Ionoptika’s J105 SIMS instruments has found its new home at the Rosalind Franklin Institute (Franklin) in Harwell Campus.

The Franklin is a national research institute, dedicated to tackling health research challenges through the development of new technologies. One of their fields of research is Biological Mass Spectrometry, with Dr Felicia Green overseeing this particular project.

Application of the J105 at the Franklin

Before the building of the Franklin was completed, the J105 was installed in Manchester University, in Professor Nick Lockyer’s group. Its high sensitivity has enabled the observation of large biomolecules and their multiple charge species, never previously observed. Additionally, work performed by Prof Lockyer and Dr Sadia Sheraz in Manchester, on coupling the J105’s capabilities with laser post-ionisation, opens up a new field of research into boosting sensitivity of low abundance analytes.

Professor Lockyer and Dr Sheraz with the J105

Now, the Franklin will apply this ability in producing 3D SIMS images of tissue samples while maintaining structural biomolecular information.

The future of this collaboration

We are excited to see the broadening range of applications and collaborations across the Franklin and further afield that this new facility will facilitate, developing and making use of high sensitivity and sub-cellular mass spectrometry imaging at cryo-temperatures. Additionally, moving the J105 into the mass spectrometry laboratory at the Franklin will enable the use of complementary MS techniques. This will help explore and validate the –omics information produced in ToF-SIMS processes and continue developing post ionisation to further enhance sensitivity.

Commenting on the move of the J105 to the Franklin, Dr Felicia Green stated:

“We are excited by the arrival of this unique instrument. Following on from the work at Manchester we believe it has great scope to enable a broad range of research across multiple Franklin areas”.

State-of-the-art mass spectrometry methods have become essential in understanding the nature and interactions of molecules in an organism. Ionoptika is extremely proud that the J105 will be able to further contribute to Franklin’s in this growing field.

UKSAF – UK Surface Analysis Forum

We’re excited to be attending and exhibiting at the UK Surface Analysis Forum on 10 and 11 July!

Come find us at Leeds University!


We’re excited to be attending this meeting of the RADIATE project in Split Croatia!

SISS – Scientific International Symposium on SIMS

We’re happy to be attending the annual SISS, Scientific International Symposium on SIMS, which will be held in beautiful Kanazawa, Japan.

Come find us on 15 and 16 June, we’ll be waiting for you!

Solid-State Defects Workshop

We are proud to be sponsoring this workshop focused on access to national facilities.

Our managing director Paul Blenkinsopp is looking forward to seeing you on 31 May and 1 June at the Department of Engineering Science of Oxford University.

BMSS Imaging & MALDI SIG Meeting 2023

We’re happy to be attending the one-day Mass Spectrometry Imaging Symposium this year in Sheffield.

Come check out our applications scientist Dr Naoko Sano’s poster presentation!

SIMS Europe 2023

We’re happy to be attending this year’s SIMS Europe, which will be held in the University of Nottingham.

Come say hi!