Dr Nick Lockyer

Dr Nick Lockyer

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nick.lockyer @ manchester.ac.uk

tel: +44 (0)161 306 4479


  • PhD on Laser Ionisation Mass Spectrometry of Biomolecules, UMIST, 1996
  • BSc in Chemistry, UMIST
  • Special Research Fellowship for the ‘Development of a Chemical Microscope‘ from the Leverhulme Trust.

My research interests focus on the development and application of surface analysis and chemical imaging particularly ToF-SIMS and laser-based mass spectrometry. There are three themes to this research: fundamentals, instrument development and applications research. The Life Sciences provide an exciting field in which to develop new applications, which in turn drive developments in methodology and technology. We are currently seeking to exploit these advances through a variety of collaborations with fellow academics, industrial partners and healthcare professionals.

Research topics: Analytical Chemistry; Instrumentation; Chemical imaging; Ion-solid interactions; Laser-matter interactions.

Laser postionisation schematic

Figure 1. The impact of keV ions or laser photons on a solid surface results in the ejection of ions and neutrals that reflect the detailed surface chemistry of the impact region. Scanning the focused probe beam over the sample leads to chemical images.  The emitted ions can be analysed and detected directly by mass spectrometry e.g. ToF-SIMS.  A complementary approach is to ‘post-ionise’ the neutrals, for example with an intense laser pulse.
Classification of cancer cell lines Figure 2. Classification of cancer cell lines using ToF-SIMS and multivariate analysis. Red is training data, blue is blind-test data. Confidence limits of 95% (outer ellipse) and 99% (inner ellipse) are shown. 1 = PC-3 ( human prostatic adenocarcinoma metastatic to bone); 2 =  LNCaP (human prostatic adenocarcinoma metastatic to lymph node);  3 = PNT2 (adult prostatic epithelial cells). Reproduced from M.J. Baker, E. Gazi, M.D. Brown, N.W. Clarke, J.C. Vickerman  and N.P. Lockyer, Applied Surface Science 255 (2008) 1084-1087.

Chemical imaging of a frog embryo

Current/Recent Research Projects

  • Development of ToF-SIMS instrumentation for 3D molecular characterisation
    Collaborators: Ionoptika Ltd, Krikor Ozanyan, Paul Wright, Bernard Treves-Brown (UoM)
  • Laser post-ionisation
  • Development of ToF-SIMS for metabolite profiling
    Collaborators: Roy Goodacre, Alan Dickson (UoM)
  • Surface Mass spectrometry for screening bacterial colonies in biotechnology
    Collaborators: Perdita Barran, Eriko Takano (UoM), Emrys Jones (Waters Corp.)
  • Imaging single biological cells using ToF-SIMS
    Collaborators: Roy Goodacre, Alan Dickson, (UoM)
  • The application of ToF-SIMS in cancer biology, diagnosis and therapy
    Collaborators: Kaye Williams (UoM); Adam McMahon (UoM); Peter Gardner  (UoM), Noel Clarke & Mick Brown (UoM & CRUK Manchestester Institute for Cancer Research); Garth Cruickshank, Stuart Green, Allah Detta (University Hospitals Birmingham)
  • ToF-SIMS imaging of Alzheimer Disease brain tissues
    Collaborators: H. Boutin (UoM)

Funding Sources

EPSRC, BBSRC, CRUK

Recent Publications [All Publications]

104 Matrix effects in biological SIMS using cluster ion beams of different chemical composition
Afnan M. Alnajeebi, John C. Vickerman and Nicholas P. Lockyer
Biointerphases 11 (2016) 02A317
103 Peptide Fragmentation and Surface Structural Analysis by Means of ToF-SIMS Using Large Cluster Ion Sources
Yuta Yokoyama, Satoka Aoyagi, Makiko Fujii, Jiro Matsuo, John S. Fletcher, Nicholas P. Lockyer, John C. Vickerman, Melissa K. Passarelli, Rasmus Havelund and Martin P. Seah
Analytical Chemistry 88 (2016) 3592–3597
102 Evaluation of biomolecular distributions in rat brain tissues by means of ToF-SIMS using a continuous beam of Ar clusters
Shusuke Nakano, Yuta Yokoyama, Satoka Aoyagi, Naoyuki Himi, John S. Fletcher, Nicholas P. Lockyer, Alex Henderson and John C. Vickerman
Biointerphases 11 (2016) 02A307
101 SIMS Matrix Effects of Biological Molecules under Cluster Ion Beam Bombardment
Afnan M. Alnajeebi, Sadia Sheraz née Rabbani, John C. Vickerman and Nicholas P. Lockyer
Proceedings of the Eighth Saudi Students Conference in the UK (2015) 437-444
100 Mass spectrometric imaging of brain tissue by time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry – How do polyatomic primary beams C60+, Ar2000+, water-doped Ar2000+ and (H2O)6000+ compare?
Irma Berrueta Razo, Sadia Sheraz (née Rabbani), Alex Henderson, Nicholas P. Lockyer and John C. Vickerman
Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 29 (2015) 1851–1862
99 Enhancing Ion Yields in TOF-SIMS - A Comparative Study of Argon and Water Cluster Primary Beams
Sadia Sheraz, Irma Berrueta Razo, Taylor P. Kohn, Nicholas P. Lockyer, and John C. Vickerman
Analytical Chemistry 87 (2015) 2367–2374
98 ToF-SIMS as tool for profiling lipids in cancer and other diseases
J.L. Denbigh and N.P. Lockyer
Materials Science and Technology 31 (2014) 137-147
97 Prospect of increasing secondary ion yields in ToF-SIMS using water cluster primary ion beams
S. Sheraz (née Rabbani), A. Barber, I. Berrueta Razo, J. S. Fletcher, N.P. Lockyer and J. C. Vickerman
Surf. Interface Anal. 46 (2014) 51–53
96 Spatiotemporal lipid profiling during early embryo development of Xenopus laevis using dynamic Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) Imaging
Hua Tian, John S. Fletcher, Raphael Thuret, Alex Henderson, Nancy Papalopulu, John C. Vickerman and Nicholas P. Lockyer
Journal of Lipid Research 55 (2014) 1970-1980
95 Comparing C60+ and (H2O)n+ clusters for mouse brain tissue analysis
Irma Berrueta Razo, Sadia Sheraz, Alex Henderson, Nicholas P. Lockyer and John C. Vickerman
Surf. Interface Anal. 46 (2014) 136–139

Recent Books

  • N.P. Lockyer,  Laser Post-ionisation for Elemental and Molecular Surface Analysis in ToF-SIMS – Surface Analysis by Mass Spectrometry, Second Edition, Eds. J.C. Vickerman and D. Briggs, SurfaceSpectra (Manchester) and IM Publications (Chichester) (in press)
  • N.P. Lockyer “Static Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry for Biological and Biomedical ResearchMethods Mol. Biol. 369 (2007) 543-567
  • Selected Presentations

  • INVITED, Enhancing SIMS Ionisation using water clsuter ion beams, SISS-17, Tokyo, June 2015
  • INVITED, Biological tissue imaging with clsuter ion beams, Kyoto, June 2015
  • INVITED,  New prospects for metabolic profiling and imaging using secondary ion mass spectrometry, Metabomeeting 2012, Manchester, September 2012.
  • New prospects for post-ionisation mass spectrometry using ultrafast laser pulses, 19th International Mass Spectrometry Conference, Kyoto, Japan, September 2012
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