Inductive Detection for Mass Spectrometry
Inventors: Lloyd Smith, Michael Westphall
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing an improved mass spectrometer for the analysis of large or complex biomolecules.
Mass spectrometry is a sensitive and selective analytical tool for detecting and characterizing almost any species capable of forming an ion in the gas phase. However, mass spectrometry is limited in its ability to analyze complex mixtures of biomolecules or extremely large biomolecules.
UW-Madison researchers have developed an enhanced electrospray ionization, time-of-flight mass spectrometer for the analysis of large or complex biomolecules. This device combines a single droplet ion source with multiple, “on-axis”, non-destructive, inductive ion detectors. The implementation of on-axis ion trajectories throughout the mass analyzer, along with multiple detectors, allows pre-acceleration ion velocities to be determined. A second set of ion detectors detects post-acceleration velocities, providing time-of-flight information while reducing ion detection losses of larger, slower-moving biomolecules. The detectors can be configured to simultaneously analyze charge states and mass-to-charge ratios, enabling the determination of absolute mass.
- Mass spectrometric analysis of proteins and other biomolecules
- May provide enhanced mass resolution, absolute mass accuracy, mass analysis efficiency and detection efficiency
- Mass analysis and detection efficiencies could be improved as much as 1012-fold over conventional mass spectrometers
- Detection sensitivity potentially independent of ion velocity, composition and structure
- May be capable of utilizing very small samples (e.g., 20 picoliters or a single cell)
- Allows analysis of many protein complexes that are of biological interest
- Potentially capable of efficient, high-resolution molecular sorting
- May be configured so that every electrically charged particle is accurately accelerated and analyzed
- Particles may be pre-selected and screened
- Works with electrospray ionization or MALDI mass spectrometry
- Suitable for multiple-stage mass spectrometry
- Applications in cancer research and other fields where proteins play a key role
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