Molecular imaging of cannabis leaf tissue with MeV-SIMS method

Bostjan Jencic*, Luka Jeromel, Nina Ogrinc Potocnik, Katarina Vogel-Mikus, Eva Kovacec, Marjana Regvar, Zdravko Siketic, Primoz Vavpetic, Zdravko Rupnik, Klemen Bucar, Mitja Kelemen, Janez Kovac, Primoz Pelicon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)


To broaden our analytical capabilities with molecular imaging in addition to the existing elemental imaging with micro-PIXE, a linear Time-Of-Flight mass spectrometer for MeV Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (MeV-SIMS) was constructed and added to the existing nuclear microprobe at the Jozef Stefan Institute. We measured absolute molecular yields and damage cross-section of reference materials, without significant alteration of the fragile biological samples during the duration of measurements in the mapping mode. We explored the analytical capability of the MeV-SIMS technique for chemical mapping of the plant tissue of medicinal cannabis leaves. A series of hand-cut plant tissue slices were prepared by standard shock-freezing and freeze-drying protocol and deposited on the Si wafer. We show the measured MeV-SIMS spectra showing a series of peaks in the mass area of cannabinoids, as well as their corresponding maps. The indicated molecular distributions at masses of 345.5 u and 359.4 u may be attributed to the protonated THCA and THCA-C4 acids, and show enhancement in the areas with opened trichome morphology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-210
JournalNuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research Section B-Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2016


  • MeV-SIMS
  • THC
  • THCA
  • Molecular imaging
  • Imaging mass spectrometry

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