The IonPix camera detector
The start-up company Omics2Image has recently been established to bring technological innovations from the AMOLF group, lead by Prof. Ron Heeren, to the market. Our products are suitable for basic research and bio-medical applications. Our first one is the IonPix camera. This camera in combination with a microscope
mode mass spectrometry system provides extremely high spatial resolution molecular images and has the capability of capturing several ion masses in one measurement cycle.
The core components of the IonPix is a 512 by 512 pixel array based on Timepix Technology mounted on a UHV compatible carrier, on top of which a chevron micro channel plate is placed for converting the arriving ions to electrons. Inside a mass spectrometer in a 100-200 micrometers area the molecules are removed, ionised and accelerated with a particle beam or a laser. The new system leaves the spatial distribution of ions intact while they fly through the mass spectrometer. These traveling molecular images are detected at the end of the flight tube, where arrival time and location are recorded. Thanks to the chip detector developed for high-energy physics at CERN it is possible to produce all molecular images with a single laser flash. Each pixel in such a molecular picture compares to 500 nanometers of tissue, and in one experiment more than 250,000 spectra are simultaneously collected. This is a major improvement in resolution and measurement speed.