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Journal: Surface and interface analysis : SIA


Time of Flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) has been used to explore the distribution of phospholipids in the plasma membrane of Tetrahymena pyriformis during cell division. The dividing cells were freeze dried prior to analysis followed by line scan and region of interest analysis at various stages of cell division. The results showed no signs of phospholipid domain formation at the junction between the dividing cells. Instead the results showed that the sample preparation technique had a great impact on one of the examined phospholipids, namely phosphatidylcholine (PC). Phosphatidylcholine and 2-aminoethylphosphonolipid (2-AEP) have therefore been evaluated in Tetrahymena cells that have been subjected to different sample preparation techniques: freeze drying ex situ, freeze fracture, and freeze fracture with partial or total freeze drying in situ. The result suggests that freeze-drying ex situ causes the celia to collapse and cover the plasma membrane.

Concepts: Cell membrane, Food preservation, Freeze drying, Vacuum, Sublimation


An indirect, compositional depth profiling of an inorganic multilayer system using a helium low temperature plasma (LTP) containing 0.2% (v/v) SF6 was evaluated. A model multilayer system consisting of four 10 nm layers of silicon separated by four 50 nm layers of tungsten was plasma-etched for (10, 20, and 30) s at substrate temperatures of (50, 75, and 100) °C to obtain crater walls with exposed silicon layers that were then visualized using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to determine plasma-etching conditions that produced optimum depth resolutions. At a substrate temperature of 100 °C and an etch time of 10 s, the FWHM of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Si layers were (6.4, 10.9, and 12.5) nm, respectively, while the 1/e decay lengths were (2.5, 3.7, and 3.9) nm, matching those obtained from a SIMS depth profile. Though artifacts remain that contribute to degraded depth resolutions, a few experimental parameters have been identified that could be used to reduce their contributions. Further studies are needed, but as long as the artifacts can be controlled, plasma etching was found to be an effective method for preparing samples for compositional depth profiling of both organic and inorganic films, which could pave the way for an indirect depth profile analysis of inorganic-organic hybrid structures that have recently evolved into innovative next-generation materials.

Concepts: Oxygen, Mass spectrometry, Temperature, Silicon, Gas, Helium, Secondary ion mass spectrometry


This paper extends a straightforward technique for the calculation of shell thicknesses in core-shell nanoparticles to the case of core-shell-shell nanoparticles using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) data. This method can be applied by XPS analysts and does not require any numerical simulation or advanced knowledge, although iteration is required in the case where both shell thicknesses are unknown. The standard deviation in the calculated thicknesses vs simulated values is typically less than 10%, which is the uncertainty of the electron attenuation lengths used in XPS analysis.

Concepts: Scientific method, Electron, X-ray, Light, Monte Carlo method, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Mathematical model, AnyLogic


Although secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) has been successfully employed for mapping lipid distributions at the cellular level, the identification of intact lipid species in situ is often complicated by isobaric interference. The high mass resolution and tandem MS capabilities of a C(60)-QSTAR hybrid instrument has been utilized to identify over 50 lipid species from mouse macrophages (RAW 264.7). In this investigation, lipid assignments made based on mass accuracy were confirmed with tandem MS analyses. Data obtained from C(60)-SIMS was compared to LC-MS data obtained by the LIPID MAPS consortium. A majority of the lipids detected with LC-MS, but not detected with C(60)-SIMS were present at concentrations below 2.0 pmol/µg of DNA. Matrix related effects prevented the detection of lipids with the glycerophosphoethanolamine (PE) headgroup, glycerophosphoserine (PS) headgroup and lipids with polyunsaturated fatty acyl (PUFA) chains in the C(60)-SIMS analyses. Lipid distributions obtained from a lawn of RAW 264.7 cells stimulated with the endotoxin KDO(2)-Lipid A were also studied. The results obtained with C(60)-SIMS agreed with the established LC-MS data for the glycerophosphoinositol lipid class (PI) with adequate molecular sensitivity achieved with as few as 500 cells.

Concepts: DNA, Archaea, Mass spectrometry, Fat, Lipids, Resolution, Lipid bilayer, Secondary ion mass spectrometry