Development of a non-destructive micro-analytical method for stable carbon isotope analysis of transmission electron microscope (TEM) samples

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The biogenicity of ancient morphological microfossil-like objects can be established by linking morphological (e.g. cell remnants and extracellular polymeric matrix) and chemical (e.g. isotopes, biomarkers and biominerals) evidence indicative of microorganisms or microbial activity. We have developed a non-destructive micro-analytical ion beam system capable of measuring with high spatial resolution the stable carbon isotope ratios of thin samples used for transmission electron microscopy. The technique is based on elastic scattering of alpha particles with an energy of 2.751 MeV. At this energy the C-13 cross section is enhanced relative to the pure Rutherford cross section for C-13, whereas the C-12 cross section is reduced relative to its pure Rutherford cross section. Here we report the initial results of this experimental approach used to characterize ultramicrotomed sections of sulfur-embedded graphite and microbial cells. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Subatomic Physics


  • Carbon isotopes, Astrobiology, Rutherford scattering, TEM
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3375-3382
JournalNuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research. Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Nuclear Physics (Faculty of Technology) (011013007)