Strategies for the chemical analysis of highly porous bone scaffolds using secondary ion mass spectrometry

Daming Wang, Gowsihan Poologasundarampilla, Wouter Van Den Bergh, Richard J. Chater, Toshihiro Kasuga, Julian R. Jones, David S. McPhail

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Understanding the distribution of critical elements (e.g. silicon and calcium) within silica-based bone scaffolds synthesized by different methods is central to the optimization of these materials. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) has been used to determine this information due to its very high surface sensitivity and its ability to map all the elements and compounds in the periodic table with high spatial resolution. The SIMS image data can also be combined with depth profiles to construct three-dimensional chemical maps. However, the scaffolds have interconnected pore networks, which are very challenging structures for the SIMS technique. To overcome this problem two experimental methodologies have been developed. The first method involved the use of the focused ion beam technique to obtain clear images of the regions of interest and subsequently mark them by introducing fiducial marks; the samples were then analysed using the ToF-SIMS technique to yield the chemical analyses of the regions of interest. The second method involved impregnating the pores using a suitable reagent so that a flat surface could be achieved, and this was followed by secondary ion mapping and 3D chemical imaging with ToF-SIMS. The samples used in this work were sol-gel 70S30C foam and electrospun fibres and calcium-containing silica/gelatin hybrid scaffolds. The results demonstrate the feasibility of both these experimental methodologies and indicate that these methods can provide an opportunity to compare various artificial bone scaffolds, which will be of help in improving scaffold synthesis and processing routes. The techniques are also transferable to many other types of porous material. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number015013
    JournalBiomedical Materials (Bristol)
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • bone graft
    • inorganic/organic hybrid
    • porous material
    • SIMS
    • sol-gel bioactive glass


    Dive into the research topics of 'Strategies for the chemical analysis of highly porous bone scaffolds using secondary ion mass spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this