2D-Analysis of Biological Cells

The detection of both pharmaceutically active and potentially harmful substances such as nanoparticles in biological cells is very important. With these investigations research and industry hope to derive knowledge about the uptake, working mechanism and metabolism of these compounds. Up to now these investigations depended on labelling of the relevant compounds - e.g. by fluorescent dyes or (radioactive) isotopes. Surface mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) has the potential to work on these issues without the need for labelling.

In order to demonstrate that surface mass spectrometry can yield comparable results to the established techniques, such as fluorescence microscopy, the distribution of the fluorophore in a biological cell was investigated with both techniques as part of a feasibility study. Both results were in good agreement. Therefore, ToF-SIMS enables the "label-free" mass spectrometric localisation of the fluorophore. More details about this study are available in the corresponding publication.

Fluorescence microscope image of the fluorescent label Mass spectrometric image of the fluorescent label