As methods to orient proteins are conceived, techniques must also be developed that provide an accurate characterization of immobilized protein orientation. In this study, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) were used to probe the orientation of a surface immobilized variant of the humanized anti-lysozyme variable fragment (HuLys Fv, 26 kDa). This protein contained both a hexahistidine tag and a cysteine residue, introduced at opposite ends of the HuLys Fv, for immobilization onto nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) and maleimide oligo(ethylene glycol) (MEG)-terminated substrates, respectively. The thiol group on the cysteine residue selectively binds to the MEG groups, while the his-tag selectively binds to the Ni-loaded NTA groups. XPS was used to monitor protein coverage on both surfaces by following the change in the nitrogen atomic %. SPR results showed a 10-fold difference in lysozyme binding between the two different HuLys Fv orientations. The ToF-SIMS data provided a clear differentiation between the two samples due to the intensity differences of secondary ions originating from asymmetrically located amino acids in HuLys Fv (histidine: 81, 82, and 110 m/z; phenylalanine: 120 and 131 m/z). An intensity ratio of the secondary ion peaks from the histidine and phenylalanine residues at either end of the protein was then calculated directly from the ToF-SIMS data. The 45% change in this ratio, observed between the NTA and MEG substrates with similar HuLys Fv surface coverages, indicates that the HuLys Fv fragment has opposite orientations on two different surfaces. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A, 2011.