SIMS can be used to confirm the presence of a drug or to make brand identification where different formulations exist; a branded product may contain additional substances or a counterfeit product could show contamination.
The presence of binding, dehydrating or filling agents can also provide a unique fingerprint. Here, Al and Na come from the pill forming material. The high sensitivity of the analyser allows very low beam currents to be employed, keeping below the static SIMS limit preserves the high mass fragments required for unequivocal identification
Powders may be analysed using SIMS, both for bulk composition and core-shell structure. Powders can be mounted using either conductive adhesive tape, dispersion, pill formation or pressing into indium sheet.