Minerals studied in geology are complex materials that contain many different species at trace levels. This results in a large number of mass interference that makes trace element analysis impossible without High Mass Resolution capability. Moreover the need for in-situ analyses at continuously decreasing scales, which are not achievable with conventional technique (TIMS or ICP-MS), has led to the development of a new generation of SIMS instruments providing High Sensitivity at High Mass Resolution. The IMS1280 is based on a double focusing mass spectrometer with a large radius magnetic sector (585 mm). The secondary ion optics has been optimized to work at full transmission up to 6000 mass resolution. This very high transmission coupled with ion bombardment of oxygen or cesium allows the measurement of isotope ratios for species at trace level concentrations (U/Pb dating experiments) or for stable isotopes (oxygen or carbon). The automation level and new control of the optics parameters lead to an exceptional reproducibility on isotopic ratio measurements that is not achievable on any other SIMS instruments (0.1permil level external reproducibility). Download the slides of SIMS XIV presentation for more details.
Another important feature is the multi-collector system equipped with 5 moveable detectors (Electron Multiplier or Faraday Cup) to perform high accuracy isotope ratio analyses from lithium to lead in multi-collection mode. It also increases the throughput of the instrument by reducing the total acquisition time.