Correlative methodologies and workflows in materials science and life sciences

Correlative microscopy is a powerful strategy to overcome the limitations of individual characterization techniques. By combining high-resolution structural images obtained by electron, ion or atomic force microscopy (TEM, HIM or AFM) with chemical maps acquired by SIMS, it is possible to visualize and correlate structural and chemical data at a nanoscale resolution. In-situ microscopy-SIMS instruments allow rapid imaging of the same ROIs (region of interests) back and forth between the high-resolution structural imaging mode and SIMS mode. Furthermore, there is no need for sample transfer between different instruments and thus, the associated image artifacts such as oxidation and contaminations are prevented.

We take advantage of the instruments’ powerful analytical capabilities and of correlative approaches to develop workflows for characterization in the three dimensions of e.g. energy materials (batteries, solar cells), microelectronic devices and biological samples. Especially, the investigation of (toxic) nanoparticles within cell cultures or tissue samples can be analyzed straight forward using e.g. the npSCOPE instrument at room temperature and under cryo conditions.


TEM images correlated with 7Li+ and 51V+ SIMS images taken from a cycled cathode of a Li-ion battery. Plot shows average 51V+ secondary ion count along the cathode as a function of depth, showing lower vanadium concentration at the electrode-electrolyte interface. For more details, refer Sarbada et al, J. Power Sources, 463, 228177, 2020.

Figure: Accumulation of ingested TiO2 nanoparticles in Daphnia magna. Upper row: Secondary electron (SE) and scanning transmission helium ion microscopy (STHIM) image of an ultrathin section of an osmium and uranylacetate stained plastic section of Daphnia magna. Lower row: Ti+ and CN- SIMS images: Ingested TiO2 nanoparticles (TiNP) can be observed in all imaging modalities, while cellular ultrastructure (e.g. microvilli of gut epithelium, MV) is only visible with high contrast in the STHIM and CN- images. All images were acquired using the npSCOPE.

Contact: Jean-Nicolas AUDINOT & Santhana ESWARA & Antje BIESEMEIER


Research domains
  • Materials

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