Picture EBD Group BioTech Showcase 2021 Whitepaper Presenting 650x80
Document › Details

Shimadzu Corporation. (4/25/13). "Press Release: Shimadzu’s Novel Imaging Mass Microscope, iMScope, Enables Optical Microscopic Observing Samples to Be Mass Spectrometric Analyzed in the One Instrument".

Organisations Organisation Shimadzu Corporation
  Group Shimadzu (Group)
  Organisation 2 Hamamatsu University
Products Product iMSCope imaging mass microscope
  Product 2 iMLayer matrix sample preparation device

Application in disease biomarker research and biological function studies -

Today Shimadzu Corporation has introduced the novel imaging mass microscope, iMScope. The iMScope is equipped with an optical microscope, which allows the observation of high resolution morphological images; and a hybrid ion trap time of flight mass spectrometer which identifies and visualizes the distribution of specific molecules in a sectioned sample. Proprietary ultra focusing laser optics and the highly reproducible 3-dimentional automated sample transfer stage results in the world's best spatial mass spectrometry resolution of 5 µm * enabling visualization of the distribution of molecules at the sub-cellular level. The iMScope is capable of analyzing living cells or tissue samples by atmosphere MALDI. By superimposing the two images obtained based on these different principles, Shimadzu has created a significant new research tool, the imaging mass microscope. Applications include disease biomarker research and functional biology research.

* Worlds finest spatial resolution in imaging mass spectrometry using matrix assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometer commercially available.

The iMScope will make its debut at both KSBMB 2013, Korean Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (May 14-16) and ASMS 2013, American Society of Mass Spectrometry (June 9-13 in Minneapolis) in conjunction with the new iMLayer, matrix sample preparation device for tissue imaging.

Background to Development

The positional information of molecules is lost in traditional mass spectrometric analysis, where sample extraction and homogenization is needed for sample pre-treatment. Consequently, it is impossible to know where a specific molecule is located or what kinds of molecules are localized in an interesting region. The Imaging mass microscope, iMScope, finally meets the demand of researchers, to analyze what they see and identify the significant molecules in the field of view.

The iMScope laser irradiates the sectioned sample at each sampling point and analyzes ionized molecules by the mass spectrometer. The 2-dimentional distribution of specific molecules are visualized by combining the positional information of each mass spectrum and the relative amounts of specific ions in the spectrum. This can, for example, pinpoint and map the distribution of disease-related molecules, and their location in a specific part of the tissue section. In addition, the relative abundance of specific molecules, e.g.: drugs and their metabolites localized in different tissues can be resolved and compared.

The imaging mass microscope, iMScope, represents a completely new hybrid type of microscope that combines both an optical microscope and an atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometer. The iMScope now makes it possible to identify various substances directly in both tissue samples and manufactured devices. It expands potential research opportunities to a diversity of fields, such as the development of early stage cancer indicators with biomarkers in cancer tissue, as a new pharmacokinetics tool monitoring drug metabolism, and advancing the breeding of agricultural and horticultural products by locating the distribution of key compounds for enhancing human health. In industry it is perfect for defect analysis of electronic components and synthetic polymer materials.

The iMScope was commercialized the results of financially supported by "Development of Systems and Technology for Advanced Measurement and Analysis" program, Japan Science and Technology Agency. Hamamatsu University of Medicine mainly contributed to develop prototype and Shimadzu Corporation commercialized. In commercialization phase, Keio University joined the team and contributed to develop more user friendly product.

Features of this system

1. High spatial resolution - Achieves the world finest spatial resolution 5 µm.

Our original ultra focusing laser optics and high precision 3-dimentional automated sample transfer stage achieve the world best spatial resolution, 5 µm, mass images. With this resolution, visualization of the distribution of molecules in micro tissue, whose size is smaller than 10 µm, like pigment layer of the retina is possible. The iMLayer, automated sample treatment system, released at the same time, can prepare samples for high spatial resolution imaging mass spectrometry with simple operation.

2. Atmosphere MALDI - Enables to analyze straightly optical microscopic "observing" samples.

The iMScope can analyze straightly optical microscopic observing samples by adopting atmosphere MALDI. In comparison with vacuum MALDI, atmosphere MALDI is capable to not only be shorter analysis time by shorter instrument start up time, but also to analyze volatile molecules and biological tissues, that is more close to be in living conditions.

The Imaging MS Solution, dedicated software for the iMScope, can set all operational parameters viewing optical microscope image, and many sets of operation parameters are available as default method files. Hence, users can perform imaging mass spectrometry like observing samples by an optical microscope without any troublesome settings.

3. High speed analysis - Achieving 100 times faster than existing method.

High speed Nd:YAG laser can ionize molecules at 1 kHz reputation rate, and our original ion optics can acquire the ions, which are ionized by several laser shots, and analyze those at once. This novel technology realized 100 times faster high speed imaging mass spectrometry than existing method using conventional mass spectrometer.

It took about 10 days to analyze mass images of 2.5 mm x 2.5 mm area with 10 µm spatial resolution with conventional instrument. But, the iMScope can complete same analysis in 3 hours. Even when two mass images should be acquired, for example, for comparing normal and cancer tissues, the iMScope can finish all analyses in 6 hours. It means that if researchers prepare samples in day time and run imaging mass spectrometry during night time, they can get mass images in following morning. Ultra fast imaging mass spectrometry performance of the iMScope accelerates researches and works.

* "iMScope" is the mintage from "Imaging Mass Scope"
* Sales area: All areas excluding EU nations and North America

For more details, visit

Record changed: 2019-06-09


Picture EBD Group Digital Medicine & Medtech Showcase 2021 at BTS2021 651x81

More documents for Shimadzu (Group)

To subscribe to our free, monthly mass spectrometry newsletter, please send an e-mail to and simply fill the subject line with the word »MSC Newsletter«

To get even more information, please take a look at our [gs] professional services offering and read the gene-sensor Product Flyer [PDF file]

Please visit also our web portals for the Eurpean life sciences and the life sciences in German-speaking Europe (DE, AT & CH) at and


Picture [iito] Männer Ballett 650x80px

» top