Bioanalysis Zone

Scientists create hybrid spectrometers with greater sensitivity and selectivity


Scientists from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow, Russia) have created hybrid spectrometers with greater selectivity and sensitivity compared to existing mass spectrometers. The recently developed instruments allows faster analysis of complex samples. The team described the new technology in a recent press release.

Based on the theories of drift ion mobility spectrometry and mass spectrometry, the newly developed hybrid instruments combine the two.

Alexey Sysoev, one of the developers, stated: “Traditional methods of detection of multicomponent sample contents combine liquid or gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, which allow for long duration of measurement over dozens of minutes.”

The hybrid device is highly selective and can analyze components rapidly (3–100 seconds).

“In the case of ion mobility spectrometry – time-of-flight mass-spectrometry– the duration of measurement can be diminished 10 to 100 times. This is crucial for a number of applications,” commented Sysoev.

“In particular, under the development of new medicines, the analysis of a vast number of samples is required at the stage of synthesis, and in the field of safety, the efficiency of the analysis allows the increase of the number of inspections with high level of selectivity,” he added.

In addition to a higher selectivity and sensitivity, the drift ion mobility spectrometers also have a high resolving power reaching 100, allowing the possibility of separation of a large number of probe components.

In addition to increasing the likelihood of this separation, the device also increases the accuracy of defining the modified mobility of compounds – a feature that allows further identification.

The team is working on enhancing the selectivity and sensitivity of this hybrid technology and is looking to expand its application in various disciplines within the life sciences and oil analysis.

Presently they are working on increasing the resolving power by including an ion mobility high-resolution spectrometer into the hybrid device in collaboration with Wichita State University (KS, USA).

“Further increasing of resolving power will be crucial for detection of various conformations and post-translational modifications of biological molecules connected with the development of incurable diseases,” stated Alexander Shwartsburg of Wichita State University.

“Movement in this direction will allow us to explain destructive phenomena in human metabolism,” he concluded.



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