The University of Surrey's new proton microprobe and the feasibility of PIXE-tomography for trace element analysis of biological tissues
The University of Surrey Ion Beam Centre has recently installed a tandem accelerator with a new proton microprobe and the potential for sub-micron beam-spot size. The facilities for Nuclear Microscopy (NM), combining scanning transmission ion microscopy/tomography (STIM-T) and proton induced X-ray emission tomography (PIXE-T) of biological tissues are being developed. This paper will review developments in ion beam tomography of biological samples and methods in accurately producing trace-elemental maps that are meaningful. Cell composition and integrity can be seriously compromized by the preparation of the sample and by beam-induced damage, causing loss of matrix elements as well as a change in cell size. Beam-induced damage, determination of 3-dimensional X-ray attenuation and secondary fluorescence contribute to the complex nature of the reconstruction and interpretation of PIXE-tomographic data. A PIXE, STIM and Rutherford backscatter analysis of leukocytes is presented in part to test the new microprobe but also to identify areas of improvement in facilities at the university and nuclear microscopy in general, in anticipation of producing maps for more direct biological and medical research.
KeywordsPIXE Tandem Accelerator Large Detector Area Proton Microprobe Secondary Fluorescence
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