Signs of earliest life on Earth are often controversial. Organic biomarkers, which are widely used to identify biological traces in geological samples, can provide additional information. We present examples of how Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
(ToF-SIMS) can be used on its own and in combination with other techniques to detect biomarkers in a variety of samples, including crude oils and microbial cells. ToF-SIMS with its unique combination of absolute sensitivity, high mass resolution and imaging capabilities can help answer geobiological questions and may ultimately be applied to Early Earth and extraterrestrial samples.
2008. 329- p.