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.



Richards Award
Image courtesy of the Geological Soc. Lond.

News June 2017:

Dr Richard Hinton has been award the Distinguished Service Award by The Geological Society of London for his significant contribution to geoscience and the geoscience community by virtue of his professional, administrative, organisational or promotional activities.








What's New.

Vacancy for Researcher in the application of Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) to the Earth and Environmental Sciences is now advertised with a closing date of 10th November 2017 and can be accessed using the following link:

Posted 12 Oct 2017
Publication Database Updated: Please contact us if we have missed your publication and inform us of any impact measue of your research Posted 30 May 2017
The application deadline for Facility time is 5pm on Friday 6th October 2017. Posted 03 May 2017
NERC Approved projects for the May round 2017. Posted 03 May 2017
NERC Annual Report 2016-2017 and Scientific Reports 2016: Posted 18 April 2017
Slight changes to Application form, November 2016. Posted 02 Nov 2016
Multi-Sample (4) Air Lock Design For 6f/1270 Instruments Posted: 12 Mar 2012


Posted: 10 Mar 2012

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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