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
- 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?
- What differentiates the vendor’s MS from others offered, in terms of performance and how easy it would be to upgrade?
- How do you validate the specification claims presented by the vendor?
- Has the data processing software been designed for enhanced analytics, with lab workflow in mind and does it support critical compliance requirements?
- What are important price points to keep in mind when selecting an MS?
- 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?
Primary application for mass spectrometer use as reported by survey respondents:
|Test water quality or food contamination||32%|
|Determine structures of drugs and metabolites||30%|
|Quantitate (relative or absolute) proteins in a given sample||26%|
|Determine protein structure, function, folding, and interactions||21%|
|Screen for metabolites in biological systems||20%|
|Detect disease biomarkers||16%|
|Detect specific post-translational modifications throughout complex biological mixtures||14%|
|Perform forensic analyses||12%|
Sample types analyzed by survey respondents
|Blood, body fluids, and cultures||32%|
|Human blood and body fluids||26%|
|Food and food related products||22%|
|Petroleum and related products||13%|
|Rocks and minerals||10%|
Some of the most exciting applications of mass spectrometry, as reported by survey respondents:
- Structure elucidation
- SIMS analysis
- Intact protein analysis
- Aerosol chemistry
- Forensic analysis of contaminated currency
- PK analysis
For more information on mass spectrometers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/mass-spectrometers
See survey results from previous years: