The London Metallomics Facility (LMF) is a newly created Wellcome Trust and King’s College London supported core facility, whose aim is to be a centralised hub for comprehensive multi-institutional integration of state-of-the-art metallomic analytics and correlative bioimaging, establishing direct interaction between leading research groups, commercial partners, and industry, whilst driving educational outreach and public engagement strategies. With its links to the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences at King’s, it also has access to a range of radionuclides of trace metals suitable for radiotracer studies and PET metallomics in vivo, as well as access to SIMS and MC-ICP-MS at Imperial College and ongoing development of single cell ICP-MS with collaborators at the Francis Crick Institute.
For bulk quantification of most elemets with sensitivities ranging from ppm down to ppt. The NexION 350D includes a dual-channel Universal Cell and the ability to use Dynamic Reaction Cell™ (DRC™) technology. The ICP-MS is gives analysts the choice of using Kinetic Energy Discrimination (KED) and/or the use of a scanning quadrupole in a DRC. Biomonitoring analyses are well suited for the NexION 350D
Laser ablation ICP-MS allows for spatial elemental mapping and quantification down to 1 micron resolution in both biological and inorganic solid samples. The Excite delivers finely controlled, “homogenizer-flat” ablations with high sensitivity and split second response. Fire-on-the-fly lasing that is synchronized to the stage motion, combined with fast washout ablation cells, make precision depth profiling of spots, lines and areas possible and enables high spatial resolution elemental mapping. The laser is coupled to a Thermo iCapTQ, where the triple quad technology allows for greater control over isobaric interferences, reaching sub-ppt sensitivities.
UltraWAVE Single Reaction Chamber (SRC) technology offers significantly greater digestion capabilities for the most difficult sample types. High-performance stainless steel construction allows for higher pressures and temperatures, while disposable vessels eliminate the need to assemble, disassemble or clean between processing. Just as important, dissimilar samples can be processed simultaneously.
The first and only transportable TXRF spectrometer with elemental detection limits in the lower pg, ppb and ppm range. The advantages of TXRF become especially effective in cases of very small sample amounts, liquid samples with high matrix content and frequently changing sample types.
The Flexar HPLC system is equipped with autosampling and UV/VIS detection for routine analysis, and when coupled to ICP-MS, allows for online elemental quantification of specific eluting fractions.
Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MSI) requires not only the acquisition of raw data but also the computing tools to generate and (more importantly) analyse the image within the context of a specific research question. At the LMF we are pleased to have access to a new powerful software from Teledyne CETAC for laser ablation image analysis called HDIP, aimed to provide publishable quality figures with the additional benefit of basic and advanced algorithms that process data in 2D and 3D with inspections tools that allow for in-depth data analysis.
Sample preparation (whether bulk elemental analysis or bio-imaging) is incredibly important to ensure that the results obtained are an accurate reflection of your original sample composition. Depending on your sample, you may be required to microwave digest samples or section tissues with a microtome or cryotome for bio-imaging purposes. The LMF can consult and assist you with the best fit sample preparation strategy for your scientific question.
Analytically challenging samples sometimes need a bit of help with method development. The LMF has the expertise required to discuss potential pitfalls and help with method development to optimise methods best suited for your specific samples and research questions.
We’ve all been in that position where we wish we had known a series of factors before we started our experiment that would have led to better results! At the LMF we are happy to provide project consultation to discuss experimental setups, sample collection and preparation strategies, and analytical considerations before you even step into the lab. Thinking about writing a grant for an interesting project? We are open to collaborations and can help with grant costing associated with analyses.
Creating a collaborative environment and streamlining resources can play a big part in increasing productivity and shared labs can have a big role in the process.