SBIR Phase I: High Brightness C60+ Ion Source for 2D and 3D Chemical Analysis in Nanobiology

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Oregon Physics LLC
2704 SE 39th Loop, Suite 109
Hillsboro, OR 97123
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a high brightness C60 ion source that can be used in TOF SIMS instruments for 2D and 3D chemical analysis and image mapping in nanobiology applications. Energetic cluster ions such as C60+ yield large molecular secondary ion species when impacting a sample, reducing subsequent surface damage for depth profiling. However, C60+ ions produced from state-of-the-art electron impact sources suffer from low beam current and relatively broad ion beams resulting in limited spatial resolution and throughput. The proposed inductively coupled plasma (ICP) source would provide a 10x increase in brightness and a 50% reduction in energy spread. The resulting C60 ion beams with higher probe current density would vastly improve spatial resolution, and allow for larger volumes of material to be analyzed at increased analysis speed. This would be extremely useful for characterizing the spatial distribution of molecules within cell components without the need for labeling. The ability to analyze and determine cell process mechanisms could have far reaching implications in health and disease control. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the improved C60 ion source would enable numerous researchers, faculty, students, and industrial users, to site specifically and spatially identify molecular species within cell and nanobiology structures at superior resolution and speed compared to the current state-of-the-art. More accurate mapping and imaging of cell functions in 3D could give rise to the discovery of new cell mechanisms, impacting society through improved health and disease control. The improved source would allow the unique sputtering properties of C60 to be applied to FIB applications in fields where existing FIB technology is limited by beam charging or material issues. These fields include semiconductor packaging, polymer science, fiber science, and paper science. The improvements proposed in the description of this new source could immediately supplant the current state-of-the-art C60+ ion sources used in commercial SIMS instruments, allowing for successful technology transfer to the marketplace through a direct supply of sources to SIMS vendors. In addition, upgrades to the current installed base of SIMS instruments would be possible, providing existing C60+ source users with the improved performance benefits. This source would also be utilized on commercial dual-beam microscopes used for cross-sectional metrology.