2013 Mass Spectrometer Product Survey Results

By Lab Manager

Mass spectrometers, measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of charged particles to determine their molecular weight, have not quite become a routine acquisition for every lab that might benefit from them. Four parts are standard in all mass spectrometers: a sample inlet, an ionization source, a mass analyzer and an ion detector.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Mass Spectrometer

  1. What factors come into play when determining the MS specifications you require in terms of throughput, sensitivity, robustness, software control, ease of use, and ease of maintenance?
  2. What differentiates the vendor’s MS from others offered, in terms of performance and how easy it would be to upgrade?
  3. How do you validate the specification claims presented by the vendor?
  4. Has the data processing software been designed for enhanced analytics, with lab workflow in mind and does it support critical compliance requirements?
  5. What are important price points to keep in mind when selecting a MS?
  6. Laboratories need fast and effective services, including an effective distribution of spare parts, instruments, service personnel and education/ training. How does the company serve these needs globally?

Type(s) of stand-alone mass spectrometer systems recently purchased or to be purchased by our survey respondents:

GC-MS 32%
Triple Quad 18%
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) 16%
Time-of-Flight (TOF) 11%
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) 5%
Dont Know 8%
Other 8%


Type(s) of integrated mass spectrometer systems recently purchased or to be purchased by our survey respondents:

GC-MS quadropole 22%
LC-MS quadropole 17%
LC-MS time of flight (TOF) 10%
LC-MS ion trap 8%
GC-MS ion trap 6%
GC-MS electron ionization (EI) 6%
Maldi-TOF 6%
Don't know 8%
Other 10%


Top ten features/benefits survey respondents look for in mass spectrometers:

High sensitivity 96%
Higher quality of data 94%
Reliability 93%
Ease of maintenance 91%
Data output, storage and retrieval 85%
Warranties 82%
Training 76%
High mass resolution 76%
Fast scanning speed 75%
High mass accuracy 74%


Survey respondents are using their mass spectrometers to perform the following analyses:

Test water quality or food contamination 32%
Determine structures of drugs and metabolites 23%
Screen for metabolites in biological systems 20%
Perform forensic analyses 18%
Quantitate (relative or absolute) proteins in a given sample 13%
Monitor enzyme reactions, chemical modifications and protein digestion 9%
Determine protein structure, function, folding, and interactions 9%
Detect specific post-translational modifications throughout complex biological mixtures 6%
Detect disease biometrics 6%
Other 33%

Completed surveys: 208

For more information on mass spectrometers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/mass_spec

See the most recent results here

Categories: Surveys

Published In

The Pathway to Management Magazine Issue Cover
The Pathway to Management

Published: January 24, 2013

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