Super-SIMS @ DREAMS: status of a challenging initiative

Dr Georg Rugel1, René Ziegenrücker1, Johannes Lachner1, Carlos Vivo-Vilches1, Axel D. Renno1, Anton Wallner1, Michael Wiedenbeck2

1Accelerator Mass Spectrometry And Isotope Research, Helmholtz- Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Dresden, Germany, 2Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum , Potsdam, Germany

At the DREAMS (DREsden AMS) facility [1,2] we are implementing a so-called Super-SIMS (SIMS = Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry) device [3] for specialized applications. The system combines the spatial resolution capability of a commercial SIMS (CAMECA IMS 7f-auto) with AMS capability, which should suppress molecular isobars in the ion beam allowing for the quantification of elemental abundances down to ~ E-9 – E-12. This would be more than an order of magnitude improvement over traditional dynamic SIMS (e.g. [4,5]). We aim to use this for the highly sensitive analysis of geological samples in the context of resource technology.

In the present setup, high efficiency transmission in the low-energy ion optics segment remains a challenge, as the beam needs to traverse two existing magnet chambers without deflection, where no steering or lens elements are available over a flight distance of 4 m. We have now improved the low-energy injection just after the ion beam exits the 7f-auto, upgrading the steerers directly after the SIMS and by adding a beam intensity attenuator. This provides both more stable conditions for instrument tuning and simplifies transition between measurements of the beam intensity in Faraday cups and the gas ionization chamber. Regarding the measurement of C, N and O in silicon, we found that a simple Wien-filter using permanent magnets for the primary Cs-sputter beam significantly reduces the background at the detector, as the 7f-auto uses a Cs₂CO₃ source – rather than metallic Cs – for the generation of the primary positive Cs beam.

Once the remaining issues associated with ion beam-path are fully addressed, we will still need to tackle the issue of establishing suitable, well characterized reference materials needed for our first suite of resource and geoscience applications (e.g., halides in naturally occurring sulphide minerals). We present ongoing developments and results, as well as plans for extending to other matrices and isotope systems.

[1] S. Akhmadaliev et al., NIMB 294 (2013) 5. [2] G. Rugel et al. NIMB 370 (2016) 94. [3] J. M. Anthony, D. J. Donahue, A. J. T. Jull, MRS Proceedings 69 (1986) 311-316. [4] C. Maden, PhD thesis, ETH Zurich 2003. [5] S. Matteson, Mass Spectrom. Rev., 27 (2008) 470.


I work in the field of AMS since 1997 – starting at the MP tandem in Munich/Garching, measuring mostly Ni-63, Fe-60, Mn-53, Ca-41 and moved 2011 to the new Dresden AMS (DREAMS) measuring Be-10, Al-26, Cl-36, Ca-41 and from time to time exotic ones like Ho-166m.

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Nov 16 2021


1:00 pm - 1:25 pm