Tobias Osterholt, Dagmar Salber, Andreas Matusch, Johanna Sabine Becker, Christoph Palm
Metals are involved in many processes of life. They are needed for enzymatic reactions, are involved in healthy processes but also yield diseases if the metal homeostasis is disordered. Therefore, the interest to assess the spatial distribution of metals is rising in biomedical science. Imaging metal (and non-metal) isotopes by laser ablation mass spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma (LA-ICP-MS) requires a special software solution to process raw data obtained by scanning a sample line-by-line. As no software ready to use was available we developed an interactive software tool for Image Generation and Analysis (IMAGENA). Unless optimised for LA-ICP-MS, IMAGENA can handle other raw data as well. The general purpose was to reconstruct images from a continuous list of raw data points, to visualise these images, and to convert them into a commonly readable image file format that can be further analysed by standard image analysis software. The generation of the image starts with loading a text file that holds a data column of every measured isotope. Specifying general spatial domain settings like the data offset and the image dimensions is done by the user getting a direct feedback by means of a preview image. IMAGENA provides tools for calibration and to correct for a signal drift in the y-direction. Images are visualised in greyscale as well a pseudo-colours with possibilities for contrast enhancement. Image analysis is performed in terms of smoothed line plots in row and column direction.