TOF-SIMS is a promising technique for evaluating proteins on bio-devices and for providing useful information about protein distribution at submicron spatial resolution, orientation, and conformation of immobilized proteins on devices. For example, TOF-SIMS spectra are able to contribute to an evaluation of the protein resistance of a polymer surface and protein formation dependent on treatment processes, and TOF-SIMS imaging provides information on the distribution of protein adsorption on artificial organs such as artificial kidneys. In addition, the reaction between protein immobilized on a solid surface and free protein in a solution is evaluated by means of TOF-SIMS techniques. In the near future, protein conformation changes after reactions or environmental changes, such as pH change and orientation of binding sites of immobilized protein, will be measured with TOF-SIMS based on the analysis of partial chemical structures.
SIMS spectra analysis techniques are necessary to interpret complicated and unpredictable SIMS data, even though SIMS with the cluster primary ion sources enhances the intensity of high-mass secondary ions. In addition, further improvements are required with respect to the production of larger and greater numbers of fragment ions and the methods of preparation of the bio-samples to enhance sensitivity. Both analysis and ion-production techniques will be considerably improved in the near future, and hence will enable a more precise measurement of various proteins on bio-devices.
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