Scanning Electron Microscopy


We have made several observations during the course of our studies that show the presence of matrix effects in soft biological tissue and standards. The sputtering rate of gelatin is approximately twice that of epoxy resin, but the ion yield of lithium in gelatin is an order of magnitude less than in epoxy. Osmium impregnation of freeze-dried material significantly alters the localization of calcium, but not potassium and barium. The absolute count rate for calcium in osmicated tissue is increased several-fold above that in freeze-dried tissue. Scanning electron microscopy of sputtered material shows the formation of cones during sputtering, which is particularly, but not exclusively, associated with melanin granules and red blood cells. These structures are known to be highly emissive for Na, K, and Ca. Boron implanted tissue also exhibits selective boron emission from melanin granules. Relative proportions of monoatomic and polyatomic emission vary in epoxy, gelatin and tissue. Ion images of carbon, chlorine and vanadium in tissue embedded with a vanadium-doped epoxy resin show variations in local regions that correspond to tissue structure. The energy distributions of common secondary ions differed somewhat in resin and two different tissue regions.

These examples show the existence of potential matrix effects in soft biological tissue that involve both differential sputtering and ion yield effects.

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