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 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).

The Cameca 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.



What's New and News.

Cameca 7f-Geo

1) Cameca ims 7f-Geo:  Is now installed in Edinburgh by Joel Bonnet.

The IMS 7f-GEO is equipped with a new, unique detection system combining a double Faraday cup detector system and an Electron Multiplier. Thanks to this configuration, acquisition time is shortened, and analyses are run in a pseudo bi-collection mode ensuring sub-permil precision for stable isotope ratio measurements. The double Faraday cup system is combined with a fast mass peak switching system (as fast as 0.3 sec at high mass resolving power) for further benefits in terms of precision and analysis throughput.

2) Please use the new application form when applying for access (12 December 2018)


3) The Application Deadline for Facility time is 5pm on Friday 12th April 2019.


4) Publication Database UpdatedPlease contact us if we have missed your publication and inform us of any impact measue of your research


5) NERC Approved Projects in 2018.


6) Annual Report 2017:



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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