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SIS acquires rights to SIMION development; ASMS meeting

To SIMION Users,

I have some long awaited news on SIMION. As you may know, there has not been a major new release of SIMION in some years following the retirement of lead SIMION developer David Dahl at what is now Idaho National Labs (INL). Still, SIMION remains widely used and its user base continues to grow at a steady rate. Obviously, as in any piece of software, customers desire changes and improvements. As a distributor of SIMION for INL, our company Scientific Instrument Services, Inc. (SIS) has heard feedback from many users, comments of where SIMION gets things right (the simplicity/directness, interactiveness to aid intuition, affordability, and it's a ability/flexibility to solve a wide variety of real problems) and where it falls short (e.g. the user interface and programming interface are due for an overhaul and some nagging quirks like the file directory limit need fixed). It's obvious that SIMION needs an active maintainer. SIS has pursued this issue for some time, and in the meantime we had started up and developed the toolkit accessory package. The good news is that the SIS has completed the required contract, and its rights to maintain the SIMION source code become effective July 1, 2005. My main job over the year (and possibly much longer) will be to manage this project and bring about SIMION 8.0 (and likely 7.x or development/beta releases along the way, which will require testers).

In the meantime, some planning is being done, and we appreciate all feedback as to what you would like to see improved in SIMION, whether in general or on very specific points. After all, you are the users of the software, and it is your requirements that must be met. (Vacuum conditions may be desirable for ion optics, but for software development it is not.) You may post comments on the discussion board or call/e-mail me. I will also be at the ASMS meeting in San Antonio Texas next week, and we can discuss anything there as well. SIS will be at booth #61, and I will plan to stop by at some of your posters. Also, as in last year, you may stop by and ask some question on using SIMION (I will bring a laptop with SIMION and even CPO and other such software).

Over the coming month, new tools will be added to the SIMION web site to better support the development process. For example, this SIMION discussion group will be moved to to better manage multiple levels of discussion (e.g. Announcements, User Support, and Development). The new forum is at

(Some changes may be made here in the next few days as things are finalized, but you are welcome to try it out.) Further details will follow.

For those attending ASMS, below is the list of all posters that are related to SIMION (or at least have SIMION mentioned in the abstract).

ASMS Posters on SIMION

Session Code Title

MOFam 11:35 Implications of miniaturising Linear Ion Trap arrays
            for portable detectors (includes CPO)
MP16    258 Performance and Modeling of a Small TOF Mass
            Spectrometer used in Aerosol Sampling
MP16    261 Countering the turn-around time effect in orthogonal TOF MS
MP16    266 Advantages of a Three-Field Source Over a Two-
            Field Source in a Multipurpose Tandem Time of
            Flight Mass Spectrometer
MP16    268 The Development of Novel Resistive Glass Technology for
            Tailoring Electric Fields in Ion Mobility and Mass
            Spectrometer Applications.
MP16    270 Single Particle Analysis of MALDI using Bio-Aerosol
            Mass Spectrometry
MP16    271 Electrospray Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass
            Spectrometry (ESI-TOFMS) with microfabricated
            Beam Modulation Devices
ThOEam 11:15The Ion Conveyor: A New Ion Optical Device for
            Improved Focusing and Sensitivity
ThP12   173 Developing Electrospray Charge Detection Mass
            Spectrometry as a Nanoparticle Injector for X-ray
            Free Electron Laser Diffraction Imaging
ThP12 174An Advanced Laser Desorption Ionization Ion Source
            with Controlled Superposition of Electric and
            Pneumatic Fields

ThP12   177 Surface Induced Dissociation (SID) in a Quadrupole
            Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer
ThP12   180 Surface-Surface (Ping-Pong) 
            Neutralization-Reionization Mass Spectrometry
ThP13   199 Axial Field Characteristics in an RF-only Linear
            Ion Trap with End Lenses
ThP13   200 Strategies to reduce the effects of field
            imperfections in quadrupole ion traps
ThP13   214 Miniaturization of mass spectrometers based on
            sub millimeter cylindrical ion traps
TODpm  03:40Kinetic Investigation of Peptide Fragmentation
            in a MALDI TOF SID TOF Mass Spectrometer
TODpm  04:20Linear Ion Trap with Axial Ejection as a Source
            for a TOF MS
TP11    199 Efficient Ion Transmission Through a Quadrupole
            Mass Filter and into a Linear Octopole Trap
TP11    201 Physical Characterization and Optimization of
            Electron Capture Dissociation in Fourier
            Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry
TP11    212 Octopole Ion Guide Transmission Efficiency in a
            High Magnetic Field for FT-ICR MS

TP11    215 SIMION Modeling of Methods to Control Time-of-Flight
            Dispersion of Externally Generated Ions in High
            Field FT-ICR MS
TP12    223 Electron Capture Dissociation in RF Quadrupole
            devices: A New Method to Trap Ions and
            Low-Energy Electrons
WOFam  10:15Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass
            Spectrometry: Overview of Recent Technique and
            Instrumentation Developments
WP08    122 Ion Motion Control in the Orbitrap Mass Analyzer
WP08    126 Fabrication of Cylindrical Ion Traps Using
            Selectively Plated Non-Conducting Materials
WP08    127 Ion Funnels for the Masses: Experiments and
            Simulations with a Simplified Ion Funnel
WP08    128 Toward Single Cell Detection-Development of A
            Novel Bioaerosol Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometer
WP08    136 Beam Dynamics in a High Resolution Multi-Pass
            Time of Flight Mass Separator
WP08    138 Transmission of Ions Through Laminated Conductance
            Pathways from Atmospheric Pressure

WP19  3423D Particle-In-Cell Code for Simulations of Ion
            Motion in the Presence of Magnetic Field

For full abstracts on these posters, go to the ASMS web site at

Click "Search", in "Full Text Word Search" enter "simion", click "Begin Search", and click "Print View".

News Flash

INL and SIS Agree to Develop SIMION Ion Optics Software

The U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory and Scientific Instrument Services Inc. (SIS) of Ringoes, NJ have joined in a new license agreement to develop and maintain the software code for the SIMION suite of ion optics modeling software. The agreement will allow SIS to enhance, update and maintain the software, to satisfy the needs of the user community, benefit the industrial partner and the government.

SIMION 3D, originally developed by INL employee David Dahl, is an award-winning Windows PC based program, widely used by manufacturers and designers of mass spectrometers, electron microscopes, electron multipliers and other scientific instruments to study the optics of charged particles through electric and magnetic fields in two and three dimensions. SIMION is designed to provide direct and highly interactive methods, balancing ease-of-use, speed, accuracy, and affordability in order to simulate a variety of real-world ion optics problems. SIMION can model complex problems using a workbench strategy that can hold up to 200 2-D and/or 3-D electrostatic or magnetic field arrays, each of up to 50,000,000 points, which the user can visualize in 3D and cut away to inspect ion trajectories and potential energy surfaces to gain intuition and collect quantitative data.

SIMION is so pervasive, and so influential that in 1998, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) recognized that "the application of SIMION has been invaluable to the design of mass spectrometers (the kinds of machines that SIMION simulates) for the last decade."

SIS has distributed SIMION since 1996 and has more recently developed accessory tools to expand the capabilities of SIMION to include the importation of CAD files directly into SIMION, a new compiler and other tools requested by customers. Similar features along with an updated user interface are planned for inclusion in the next major release of SIMION. SIS has also established a SIMION web site ( to provide customers with information and support on SIMION. SIS warmly welcomes any comments or suggestions from the SIMION community on the future direction of the SIMION software.

Established in 1978, Scientific Instrument Services specializes in supplies and services for mass spectrometers and related scientific and medical equipment. The company distributes its products via a catalog and through its web site ( SIS also designs and manufactures filaments, probes and other instrument accessories for OEM's in the scientific and medical market. With more than 30 employees, SIS's staff includes sales, technicians, machinists, engineers, programmers and product development/support specialists.

The INL is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy's missions in environment, energy, science and national security. The INL is operated for the DOE by Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC.

I look for forward a long collaboration with the SIMION user base,
David Manura
Scientific Instrument Services, Inc. /
(<< Supplies and Services for Mass Spectrometers, Gas Chromatographs and Liquid Chromatographs)

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