School of GeoSciences

NERC Ion Micro-Probe (SIMS) Facility

The facility supports in-house research, as well as academic and commercial services in Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) analysis for the chemical analysis of small volumes of material.

Woman seated at a desk surrounded by technical equipment in a science facility

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) is used for the chemical and isotopic analysis of small volumes of solid material down to parts per billion for many elements.

The facility is supported by the School of GeoSciences and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), under its National Capability portfolio.

The Ion Micro-Probe  is run in conjunction with:

 Together, they form a unique suite of analytical instruments within the Edinburgh Materials and Micro-Analysis Centre (EMMAC).  The facilities are located within the School of GeoSciences, at the University of Edinburgh. 

The Edinburgh Materials and Micro-Analysis Centre (EMMAC)

What's new

The next application deadline for facility time is April 19th, 2024. Some instrumental restrictions apply. Please contact the Edinburgh Ion Micro-Probe Facility (EIMF) team before submitting an application:

Visit  NERC application information
New 360 virtual views of the 4f, 7f-Geo and the 1270 labs. Instrument specification and virtual tours
New data for the Ti-Qtz standards from University of Michigan by Owen K Neill.  Recommended glass compositions 
New ion probe publication database: please test and check we have your publications.  Publication database

Follow us on Twitter @IonProbe

Contact and access to the SIMS facility

Contact details and guidance on access to the facility for staff, students and visitors including costs and application information.

Instruments, preparation and standards

Find out more about our facilities and equipment including 360 virtual tours. We have also provided information on specimen requirements and sample preparation.

SIMS technique

The Ion Microprobe employs Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) for the chemical analysis of small volumes of material. Applications include elemental analysis, isotopic analysis, depth profiles and geochronology.


We keep a record of all Papers, Abstracts  and Thesis that use data obtained at the facility.

Documents, reports and projects

View NERC approved projects, publications that used data obtained at the facility, scientific highlights, NERC statistics and reports as well as EIMF scientific reports.

Small Research Facility (SRF)

Our NERC Ion Micro-Probe Facility is operated as a Small Research Facility (SRF).

A Small Research Facility (SRF) is a facility or service provided by the School and used for research and teaching.  They are also available for use by the wider community such as external academic or commercial use.  Our SRF's are available for hire or on a consultancy basis.  These charges are recognised by grant funders and can therefore form part of a grant submission.

Explore our Small Research Facilities (SRF)