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10/31/2013 Happy Halloween  

Happy Halloween from everyone at ION-TOF!

09/18/2013 46 Million year old sample!  

For most of us we rarely analyze samples over a month old but our friends, Yulia Goreva, Tim Rose, Sandra Siljestrom and colleagues, at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC have been analyzing a 46 million year old fossil of a blood-engorged mosquito!!

Recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) their work showcases the ability of TOF-SIMS to "discover" complex organic molecules (iron-stabilized heme) in the fossil and provide information relative to the mechanisms of the fossilization process.

The work has garnered national press attention in places such as Nature News, National Geographic blog, The Scientist and NPR to name a few.

You can check out the abstract and further details at the PNAS web page.

09/18/2013 IONTOF USA on LinkedIn  

IONTOF USA has entered the social media world with our very own page on LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network.

You can view our page here, and we hope that you will follow us in order to keep up with the latest news and developments from us and also some features highlighting the latest research from our users.

09/05/2013 User's Dinner at SIMS XIX  


The 19th International Conference on Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry will be held in Jeju-Do, Korea between September 29th and October 4th 2013.

As part of the week's activities, we are pleased to invite our customers to a user's reception, including food and drinks, which will be held at the Hotel ”The Shilla Jeju” on Monday, September 30th 2013 at 7 p.m. The venue is located near the conference center.

We look forward to meeting as many of you as possible and spending a fun and inspiring evening together.

05/06/20133 Symposium on Advanced Surface Analysis  


Later this summer our friends at Lehigh University will host a Surface Analysis Symposia. Discussions will focus on the techniques available in the Operando Molecular Spectroscopy and Catalysis Research Lab run by Prof. Israel Wachs. One of the instruments available to Prof. Wachs and his colleagues is the IONTOF Qtac 100 High Sensitivity LEIS system that gives true atomic layer characterization.

Complete details of the symposium can be found here.

A review of the last symposium which attracted approximately 150 scientists is available here.


11/13/2012 TOF-SIMS investigates Sunscreen safety news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS

As we reach for our winter clothes few of us are thinking of the beach but the next time we apply our sunscreen think of Professor Nancy Monteiro-Riviere's research studies on the interaction between sunscreen and skin. Along with colleagues at NC State and BASF she has investigated the penetration depth of TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles in skin.

By using SEM, TEM and TOF-SIMS (IONTOF TOF.SIMS 5 located in the Analytical Instrumentation Facility at NC State) the researchers were able to determine that penetration of ZnO and TiO2 nanoparticles was slightly enhanced in UVB-sunburned skin compared to non-damaged skin.

A synopsis of the work and interview with Prof. Monteiro-Riviere can be read in Volume 89, Issue 32 page 44-46 of C&E News, also available online.

The full article was published in Toxicological Sciences
(Toxicol. Sci., DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfr148)

Prof. Monteiro-Riviere has since moved to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University where she also is Director of the Nanotechnology Innovation Center for Kansas State.

We wish her good luck in her new position and look forward to more TOF-SIMS studies from her group!

01/19/2012 Pushing the Capabilities of Surface Analysis news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


In the January 16th 2012 edition of C&E News, Mitch Jacoby details recent advances in surface analysis instrument design that opens doors to new areas of research.

One of the products featured in the article is our new Ar Gas Cluster Ion Source (Ar GCIS). Based on a talk, given by ION-TOF USA Sales Manager Nathan Havercroft, at the AVS-58 conference, the article explains how SIMS can now be used to profile organic multi-layer samples such as OLEDs and OPVs. Such work was close to impossible before the Ar GCIS development.

The full article is available at C&E News Online.

If you are interested in further details of the Ar GCIS please contact us at



We are proud to announce that ION-TOF was a recipient of an AVS Technology Award. The award was presented for work on our new gas cluster ion beam source which was presented at the recent AVS-58 Symposium and Exhibition in Nashville, TN, USA.

This new source provides an energy range of up to 20 keV and a spot size of down to 30 µm. A spectroscopy mode is available, meaning it is optimized for both dual and single beam depth profiling.

If you are interested in further details please contact us at



We are pleased to announce a promising new feature of the ION-TOF GmbH website: The Career Forum.

In this section, you will not only find any job openings at ION-TOF, but you also have the possibility to publish job opportunities at your own company. We hope that you will take advantage of this new feature when searching for your next surface scientist. We are starting off with a job opening for a service engineer at ION-TOF GmbH.

If you are interested in publishing a job opening in our Career Forum, please contact for further information.

10/28/2011 SIMS XVIII, Breakthrough for Argon Clusters news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


Last month a large group of SIMS users went to Italy to participate in the international SIMS conference. The event took place at the beautiful Lake Garda and was perfectly organized by the local Italian committee.

One of the most interesting subjects of this conference was definitely the application of large argon clusters in SIMS. Ewald Niehuis gave a comprehensive invited talk on the basics of organic depth profiling using large argon clusters. Derk Rading followed with a presentation on the latest results in the field of depth profiling of polymers.

The presentations on this subject were completed by a talk given by Sven Kayser who concentrated on the use of argon clusters as primary projectiles.

If you would like to learn more about the enhanced possibilities using the new Gas Cluster Source please contact Sales


SIMS XVIII at Lake Garda, a beautiful place for an interesting conference

10/06/2011 Isenheim Altarpiece by M. Grünewald (1516) news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


For several years TOF-SIMS has been a powerful technique for the study of stratigraphic materials in cultural heritage. We have seen different examples where TOF-SIMS was used for the analysis of paintings, providing detailed information about hybrid materials.

Pascale Richardin has recently published a paper about a study of part of the Isenheim Altarpiece, one of Matthias Grünewald's masterpieces from the 16th century. The study is a continuation of earlier work done in 2006 where a variety of different non-destructive analysis techniques were used in order to establish a complete preservation state. The aim of the new experiments were to identify and locate copper green pigments with high lateral resolution and high sensitivity.

The results show that TOF-SIMS is currently the only technique allowing the detection and localization of such organo-metallic complexes at a micrometer scale. For more information please see: Pascale Richardin, Vincent Mazel, Philippe Walter, Olivier Laprévote, Alain Brunelle, J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. (2011) 22:1729-1736

The Angels concert, part of the Isenheim Altarpiece, a masterpiece by Matthias Grünewald completed in 1516, © C2RMF, E. Lambert and O. Guillon




The June 6th 2011 issue of Chemical & Engineering News featured an article on forensic ink analysis using an ION-TOF TOF.SIMS 5.

Celia Arnaud's article highlights work performed by our own Albert Schnieders and Albert Lyter of Federal Forensic Associates. A proof of concept study was used to show that TOF-SIMS can distinguish overlapping signatures of different inks (see image below). The three color overlay clearly shows unique identifying masses that characterize the different signatures and the paper.

The technique was then used in a legal case that is currently in arbitration.

Presented by ION-TOF USA's Sales Manager, Nathan Havercroft, at the 23rd Annual Workshop on SIMS the work is the start of a further project in to forensic analysis of aged inks.

If you would like to know more about this study or other forensic applications of TOF-SIMS, please send an email to




Known as one of the world's most brilliant and mysterious gemstones, The Hope Diamond has been seen by millions of people. It's deep blue color leaves most in awe and full of wonder, but now scientists at the Smithsonian Institute have used their ION-TOF TOF-SIMS IV to try to unlock some of those mysteries.

The work was filmed for the Smithsonian TV channel and can be seen here.


12/15/2010 SIMS Analysis beyond the Static SIMS Limit news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


SIMS is a well established technique for the analysis of polymers. Up to now the undisturbed organic information could only be measured at the polymer surface. The analysis of deeper polymer layers without losing a large fraction of the organic information was impossible. The new gas cluster ion source allows organic SIMS analysis far beyond the static SIMS limit.

We applied the new gas cluster ion source to different polymers with remarkable results. Even after intense sputtering to a depth of several microns, spectra of the intact polymer could be acquired.

The example below shows surface spectra before (red) and after (blue) sputtering with 10 keV Ar2500+. While the red spectrum shows some surface contamination in addition to the characteristic polystyrene peaks, the blue spectrum only shows the polystyrene peaks and no contamination. The blue spectrum was taken at a depth of 2 µm.

The spectra above show surface spectra before (red) and after (blue) sputtering with 10 keV Ar2500+.

12/15/2010 Ultimate Depth Resolution on the NPL Multilayer Structure news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


The Irganox 1010 / Irganox 3114 multilayer structure from NPL in the UK has become a reference material for the evaluation of organic depth profiling performance. The sample is ideal for comparison of depth resolution using different analytical conditions.

With the new gas cluster ion source it is now possible to further improve the depth resolution achieved so far by using C60 sputtering under optimum conditions.

The example below shows a dual beam depth profile through the NPL multilayer structure using Bismuth as the analysis beam and an Argon cluster as the sputter beam. The layer thicknesses are 2.7 nm, 2.8 nm, 3.3 nm and 3.3 nm. We could measure an excellent depth resolution of < 5 nm (FWHM) with an upslope of < 1.2 nm.

Depth profile of the NPL multilayer sample.

12/15/2010 OLED Application with the GCIB Source news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


The analysis of organic multilayer structures is of high interest especially for researchers in the field of OLED technology. So far, TOF-SIMS depth profiling could only provide limited information about such samples.

With the new gas cluster ion source we could, for the first time, analyze these samples following the signals of the intact molecules. The example below shows a dual beam depth profile through an OLED like structure. All layers of the structure are well detected with a high sensitivity and depth resolution. We expect that the interest in this new application will be very high.

Depth profile of an OLED like structure showing the depth distribution of the different molecules.

11/05/2010 Product Announcement for New Gas Cluster Ion Source news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


The application of argon clusters in SIMS was pioneered by researchers at Kyoto University. Recently, this subject has been discussed in the SIMS community more intensively. Will this projectile represent a major step forward in organic depth profiling? Which other applications can be addressed using the new technology?

Today, ION-TOF is happy to announce that our R&D team has nearly finished the development of a new high-performance gas cluster source for dual beam depth profiling. The source has been optimized for TOF-SIMS applications and our application team is enthused by the results.

ION-TOF will officially launch the new gas cluster source on the 15th of December 2010. We will present more information about the new product and its application soon.


11/03/2010 New Product Launch for the TOF.SIMS 5 Product Line news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


The TOF.SIMS 5 was officially launched in October 2003 and has rapidly become the most successful TOF-SIMS instrument in the market. Nevertheless, our R&D team is constantly improving the performance of our instruments in order to extend the range of applications of the technique and to deliver the best product to the customer. This new series of products, which ION-TOF launched during the SIMS Europe and AVS conferences last month, are another milestone in our ongoing R&D efforts.

With the new 30 keV BI NANOPROBE ION-TOF introduces the next generation Bismuth cluster source to the market. The source provides 4x higher data rates, 4x higher current density in fast imaging mode and an ultimate lateral resolution of 60nm.

The 20 keV C60 MICROPROBE has a completely new design. The source is optimized for high-end spectroscopy, imaging and depth profiling with C60.

ION-TOF also presented the new FAST SAMPLE ROTATION and a new version of the SurfaceLab 6 software which includes a new spectra library.

If you would like to know more about these new products, please send your request to


11/02/2010 200th Installation news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


The installation of their new TOF.SIMS 5 was celebrated by the Karlsuhe Institute of Technology (KIT) on 27th October 2010.

During the event, ION-TOF's Sven Kayser gave a talk on the development of SIMS and TOF-SIMS over the years, while our senior applications scientist, Dr. Derk Rading gave a presentation on the technique and on possible applications.

This instrument is ION-TOF's 200th on-site installation, so we contributed to the celebration by inviting all attendees to a reception with various refreshments afterwards.

Dr. Alexander Welle, our user at KIT, has already successfully completed some scientific tasks on his new TOF.SIMS 5 and we hope the instrument will continue to be a valuable means of research at Karlsruhe!

Dr Michael Bruns (left) and Dr Alexander Welle (right) from the KIT in Karlsruhe look forward to using the new TOF.SIMS 5.




We held our sixth Users Meeting on 21st and 22nd September, immediately following SIMS Europe 2010.

For the social evening, more than 100 customers and staff visited the lake Aa of Muenster. Our customers showed a lot of sporting spirit in a pedalo race and the winners were of course awarded with prices, ranging from Muenster souvenirs to MP3 players. Everyone then enjoyed a well-deserved dinner in a restaurant overlooking the sunset on the lake.

On the following day, we assembled at the Technology Centre just opposite the ION-TOF building. New developments and products were presented by ION-TOF staff and two users gave interesting presentations on their own TOF-SIMS applications. For their efforts, they were duly rewarded with a souvenir of Muenster.

Photos of the event are available in ION-TOF's download area and our customers are cordially invited to log in and have a look!

It was a pleasure for us to meet so many of our users here in Muenster once again.

Pedalo race


01/11/2010 Number of TOF.SIMS 5 exceeds 100 news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


ION-TOF is proud to announce that the very successful TOF.SIMS 5 has now been sold more than a hundred times. In December 2009 ION-TOF received orders number 100 and 101. The hundredth instrument will be installed at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea.



10/09/2009 NanoScan Product Distribution news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


As previously announced, ION-TOF GmbH has recently acquired the majority of the shares of the Swiss company NanoScan Ltd.

NanoScan offers the high-resolution magnetic force microscope (hr-MFM) and the high-resolution atomic force microscope for the physical properties measurement system (PPMS®-AFM).

We are pleased to inform that ION-TOF GmbH will now channel all related marketing and sales efforts in Muenster. Together with the skilled scientists at NanoScan, the experienced ION-TOF sales team is looking forward to extending the market for these extraordinary devices.

If you would like additional information please contact


09/30/2009 First Qtac installation news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


ION-TOF GmbH is pleased to announce the successful installation of its first Qtac instrument in the Department of Catalysis and Materials at the University of Lille in France. After a smooth and punctual acceptance, the system has now begun routine operation and will support the users in gaining valuable information about their samples, which include materials such as catalysts, metals and polymers.

The Qtac, which is able to measure the properties of the first monolayer of the sample, has been supplied in combination with a TOF.SIMS 5 and an Axis Ultra XPS from Kratos Analytical Ltd. The complementary analysis capabilities of these instruments provide the University of Lille with a very powerful surface analysis system.

We wish the University of Lille every success in their research endeavors using the new system!

LEIS, TOF-SIMS, XPS combination instrument at the University of Lille

04/07/2009 ION-TOF acquires majority of NanoScan shares news-IONTOF-TOF-SIMS-TIME-OF-FLIGHT-SURFACE-ANALYSIS


We are pleased to announce that ION-TOF GmbH has recently acquired the majority of the shares of the Swiss company NanoScan Ltd.

NanoScan Ltd. is a spin-off company of the University of Basel. The company was set up in 2003, when the initiators at the Institute of Physics developed a prototype of their high-resolution Magnetic Force Microscope capable of enhancing the resolution by a factor of ten compared to other available microscopes.

Today, NanoScan offers the high-resolution magnetic force microscope (hr-MFM) and the high-resolution atomic force microscope for the physical properties measurement system (PPMS®-AFM).

After the acquisition NanoScan will remain an independent company in Switzerland. Dr. Raphaėlle Dianoux has been appointed CEO and will lead the company together with Dr. Guido Tarrach as CTO. Both scientists have long-term experience in the development and the application of scanning probe microscopy.

This acquisition will grant ION-TOF access to new technologies in the field of nanoscience, thus strengthening our position as a leading manufacturer of instrumentation for surface analysis. We are certain that our future product lines will benefit from these new technologies.