The worldwide first NanoSIMS instrument passed all acceptance tests in Paris in October 2000 and was then packed up for delivery to St. Louis. The big day of arrival was a snowy 01-December-2000. The NanoSIMS came came in four large wooden boxes and survived the transport without any major problems.
Since our NanoSIMS was the very first instrument of its kind, there were a few design problems that were later improved on newer models. The biggest issue was with the multi-collection system, where we had repeated problems with mechanical alignment and cable routing. In July 2009 we were able to get an upgrade installed that makes the mechanical components of the multi-collection system more reliable. While this upgrade does not provide any new analytical capabilities, we expect that it will reduce instrument downtime in the long run. This should help increase the sample throughput and allow us to better handle the high demand for NanoSIMS instrument time.
The NanoSIMS is a complex instrument. There are more than 200 parameters that can be adjusted for a multi-collection NanoSIMS measurement. Here are a few pictures of the hardware and an overview of the instrument’s basic ion optics.