School of GeoSciences

NERC Ion Micro-Probe Facility (SIMS)

The Facility carries out in-house research and provides a service to the earth and environmental science community. It is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The Ion Micro-Probe (Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, SIMS) Facility is located in the School of GeoSciences, Grant Institute at the University of Edinburgh.



Cameca ims-4f

The Ion Micro-Probe Facility is equipped with a Cameca ims 4f, a Cameca 7f-Geo and  a Cameca 1270 and is supported by NERC under its National Capability portfolio.

The Cameca IMS 4f was installed in September 1988 and despite its age it still is the instrument of choice for multiple element analysis, and is ideal for the analysis of H in nominally anhydrous minerals. Equipped with a He cryo-pump, Liquid Nitrogen cold trap and a sample air lock than can hold, pre-pump and bake eight samples prior to analysis, it is perfect for light element and volatile analysis (e.g. H, Li, B, C, F etc).

Cameca 7f-Geo

The Cameca IMS 1270 was installed in January 2003 and provides better sensitivity and higher precision than the Cameca ims 4f. Dramatic improvements in external repeatability of isotopic ratio measurements for stable isotopes (O, Si, C, S, Li, B...) have been achieved, while the high transmisson of the 1270 at high mass resolution has enabled new areas of geochronology (U/Pb, Th/Pb, Th/U in Zircon, Monazite and Allenite) to be developed.

The Cameca IMS 7f-Geo was installed in October 2018 and accepted in March 2019. The 7f-GEO is equipped with a unique detection system combining a double Faraday cup and an Electron Multiplier. With this configuration, acquisition time is shortened and sub-permil precision for stable isotope ratio measurements can be achieved. Advances in electronics and software allows more automated analysis to be performed and the new Hyperion ion source produces a more stable O- ion beam with a higher spatial resolution.

What's New and News.







  • The Application Deadline for Facility time is 5pm on Friday 16th April 2021.






Contact Information

Ion Micro-Probe Unit

  • The School of GeoSciences
  • The University of Edinburgh

Contact details



School of GeoSciences
Grant Institute
James Hutton Road
The King's Buildings

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