EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y015134/1
Title: Multimodal Ion Beam Imaging facility: Multimodal 3D elemental and molecular imaging at the sub-micron scale
Principal Investigator: Bailey, Professor MJ
Other Investigators:
Townsend, Professor PA Lockyer, Professor NP Costa, Dr C
Webb, Professor RP JAYAWARDENA, Dr KDI Palitsin, Dr V
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Surrey
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 February 2024 Ends: 31 January 2027 Value (£): 2,967,715
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Environment
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Water
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Jun 2023 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel June-July 2023 - Panel 1 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) is widely used by industry and academia for 3D imaging of elements and molecular fragments to gain information on structure and content. With excellent spatial resolution, SIMS has enabled significant advances in the development of solar cells, semiconductor devices, batteries and biomedical research. However, SIMS still suffers from a few drawbacks, namely: (a) matrix effects, which cause artefacts in both images and depth profiles; (b) incompatible analytical conditions for the detection of elemental and molecular species; and (c) fragmentation, which precludes identification of larger organic molecules.

Water cluster ion sources are a new development offering remarkable gains in sensitivity for organic molecule measurement, partially addressing limitation (c) above. Again, even this state-of-the-art system does not address

limitations (a) and (b) above.

This proposal will overcome these limitations by providing an internationally unique, cutting-edge capability for 3D molecular and elemental imaging at the sub-micron scale, by using both water cluster and MeV ion sources already located at the University of Surrey. This will enable more than a step-change in materials characterisation for UK academics and industry working in areas supported by EPSRC and other UKRI sponsors

We will install and commission an internationally unique system in the Surrey Ion Beam Centre at the University of Surrey that will provide multimodal 3D imaging of elements and molecules at the sub-micron scale using label-free, non-targeted techniques. Specifically, the system will enable:

(i) high-resolution imaging of larger molecules

(ii) multimodal elemental and molecular imaging

(iii) multimodal depth profiling

This will be achieved by combining MeV ion beam analysis (X rays, gamma rays, backscattered particles) and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) in a single system. The Surrey Ion Beam Centre is the ideal host for this equipment, as it is not only a National Facility, but has also developed a proven business model, involving academic and industrial users, that will ensure the long term sustainable operation of the new capability. One of the main aims is to promote this added and unique capability to engage with a broader range of partners, especially those involved in health-related search and development, such as cancer treatment and drug testing.

Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk