Testing Molecular Homogeneity at the Nanoscale with Massive Cluster Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry.
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2016 American Chemical Society. This study deals with assessing the homogeneity of a mixture of ultrasmall nanoparticles differing only by their respective functionalization. While measuring the relative abundance of nanoparticles with specific functionalization is feasible with mass spectrometry, the determination of mixed or segregated moieties is beyond current capabilities. Our approach is based on SIMS with massive projectiles, specifically Au400+4. A distinct feature of bombardment with Au400+4 is abundant emission of multiple secondary ions from one projectile impact. Their analysis allows for examination of coemitted and thus colocalized molecules within the emission area of a single impact (10-15 nm in diameter). It is possible to collect the mass spectrum from each projectile impact, which probes individual nanodomains, allowing for examination of molecular homogeneity at the nanoscale.