About the Pixel Imaging Mass Spectrometry (PImMS) camera

A brief history

The PImMS project came about from an overlap in technological requirements between research groups in Oxford Chemistry (led by Dr Claire Vallance, and Prof. Mark Brouard), Oxford Physics (led by Prof. Andrei Nomerotski, now at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and more recently Dr Richard Nickerson), and the CMOS image sensor group at the STFC-Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire (led by Dr Renato Turchetta). Initially the remit was to create a sensor which would help to combine time-of-flight mass spectrometry: a technique that underpins countless analysis methods; with ion imaging: a technique that has revolutionised the field of chemical reaction dynamics. The combination of these methods promised to yield data which offered far more insight than either technique offered alone. Areas of application to date include: imaging mass spectrometry, chemical reaction dynamics, surface analysis, neutron science, bio-molecular imaging, and high energy particle physics.

The sensor itself is based on the patented INMAPS technology, which allows for more complicated CMOS pixel circuitry, both having been developed by Dr Turchetta, and his group. Commissioning and characterisation of the sensor, and much of the firmware development for the camera, were conducted by the groups of Prof. Nomerotski, Dr Nickerson, and Dr Turchetta. The end-user software and calibration systems were mainly developed alongside some of the early applications of the sensor in the groups of Dr Vallance, and Prof. Brouard.


The PImMS project and its related endeavours have gratefully received funding from the following bodies: the STFC through a PNPAS award of the RCUK MI-3 programme (Grant No. GR/S85733/01) and Mini-IPS grant ST/J002895/1; the EPSRC via Programme Grants EP/G00224X/1 and EP/L005913/1; the EU through grant FP7 ITN "ICONIC" (Project Grant No. 238671); the ERC through Starting Independent Researcher grant "ImageMS"; and the "proof of concept" grant from ISIS Innovation Ltd.