Imaging of Elements in Tissue at Trace Concentrations

Period of Performance: 09/30/1987 - 07/31/1988


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Atom Sciences, Inc.
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
Principal Investigator


Instrumentation enabling quantitative trace element concentration imaging with high sensitivity and resolution (1 ppm, 5 Mum) of biological tissue sections over 2x2 mm2 would be a valuable research tool. Simultaneous structural imaging would enhance the utility. Sputter Initiated Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy (SIRIS) will be adapted to provide structural imaging and quantitative element concentration imaging of biological tissue sections. The method will be tested by imaging the concentration of iron and aluminum in tissue sections from brains of Alzheimer's disease victims, and correlating these images with surface structure visible in secondary electron images from the identical location, and optical microscopy of adjacent stained sections. SIRIS utilizes a focused ion beam to sputter neutral atoms and ions from the sample surface. The ions are rejected, while the neutral atoms are ionized with narrow band lasers tuned to specific transitions of the selected element. This yields a uniformly high ionization efficiency for any selected element with essentially no ionization or interference from other constituents in the sample. Imaging will be implemented by rastering the ion beam over the sample with synchronous detection, storage and display of the secondary electron and SIRIS ion signals. The system will also be applicable to the semiconductor industry, surface science and geoscience.