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SIMS Workstation


Hiden Analytical based in Warrington has over 30 years of design, development and manufacture of quadrupole mass spectrometers. Their product range spans from precision gas analysis to catalysis performance quantification UHV (Ultra High Vacuum) to surface science using the SIMS workstation.

The SIMS workstation hardware

SIMS workstation

We have worked with Hiden since 2007 providing user friendly and intuitive LabVIEW interfaces to support their hardware.

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) is a technique used in materials science and surface science to analyse the composition of solid surfaces and thin films. The surface of the specimen is hit with a highly focused primary ion beam, the ejected secondary ions are then collected and analysed. Using Hiden's quadrupole mass spectrometer the mass/charge ratios of these secondary ions are measured and used determine the elemental, isotopic, or molecular composition of the surface to a depth of 1 to 2 nm.  SIMS is the most sensitive surface analysis technique, with elemental detection limits ranging from parts per million to parts per billion.


Whilst Hiden have their own software package (MASsoft), it is an all-encompassing tool and requires a highly knowledgeable user to setup and run. In a lot of instances users would not need access to the huge range of possible controls and scan configurations. After successes with our earlier software packages such as QGA Pro, TPDSoft and CATLAB we were asked to build a control and user interface for the SIMS workstation, one of their largest and most complex products. Key requirements were to create an engaging user interface in which the user can set-up scans with ease and clear and versatile analysis tools to facilitate the best understanding of the sample under test.


We decided to take a tiered approach to the experiment setup. At the top level the user can select the desired species to scan for using a user-friendly interactive periodic table to build up the species to scan for isotope by isotope, varying the charge and calculating the interference of their chosen species if desired. Deeper within the scan set-up the user can gain access to the advanced parameters for any configured species.

Sims periodic table setup
I have been running the mass selection methods and I am impressed. The periodic table is very clear, intuitive and easy to use...
— Senior Development Scientist, Hiden Analytical

Used in this Project



Hardware & Interfaces

TCP, serial, SIMS workstation, USB camera


Remote software development, LabVIEW programming, understanding complex scientific systems, developing custom user interfaces, advanced 3D plotting, custom data exports, development of software 'wizard' tools, project management, requirements management.