Imaging Mass Spectrometry for Single-Cell Analysis
Book chapter, 2014

Single-cell imaging is a very important area in biological, medical, and pharmaceutical research, yet it is one of the most challenging fields for mass spectrometry. Imaging mass spectrometry (IMS), which is a powerful label-free analytical technique, has proved its capability to chemically visualize single cells with high sensitivity, chemical selectivity, and in certain cases subcellular spatial resolution. We present here an overview of the capabilities and current progress of IMS, particularly secondary ion mass spectrometry, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization, and desorption electrospray ionization for single-cell imaging. The principles and technical developments of each technique are introduced. Critical aspects regarding single-cell imaging are addressed, especially sensitivity, spatial resolution, and sample handling. Current achievements in this field of application are also presented for both 2-D imaging and 3-D imaging. Furthermore, we address the potential contribution of IMS single-cell ‘omics’ and discuss its future development.


Nhu TN Phan

University of Gothenburg

John Fletcher

University of Gothenburg

Andrew Ewing

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Analytical Chemistry

Reference Module Chemistry, Molecular Sciences and Chemical Engineering

Subject Categories

Analytical Chemistry





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