It is well known in secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) that sample topography leads to decreased mass resolution. Specifically, the ion's time of flight is dependent on where it was generated. Here, using matrix-enhanced SIMS, it is demonstrated that, in addition to increasing the yield of intact pseudomolecular ions, the matrix allows the user to semiquantitatively record the topography of a sample. Through mapping the topography-related mass shifts of the matrix (which leads to decreased mass resolution), the analogous mass shifts of higher mass ions can be deconvoluted and higher resolution and greater sensitivity obtained. Furthermore, the semiquantitative topographical map obtained can be compared with any chemical images obtained, allowing the user to quickly ascertain whether local intensity maximums are due to topological features or represent genuine features of interest.
Anal. Chem.

McDonnell, L. A., Mize, T. H., Luxembourg, S., Koster, S., Eijkel, G., Verpoorte, E., … Heeren, R. (2003). Using matrix peaks to map topography: increased mass resolution enhanced sensitivity and the rapid identifacation of artifacts in chemical images. Anal. Chem., 75, 4373–4381. doi:10.1021/ac034401j