Home Biological Mass Spectrometry Hybrid Imaging Instrument

Hybrid Imaging Instrument

This Hybrid Imaging instrument aims to make it possible for high-mass resolution measurements  to be conducted in a spatially resolved manner. The instrument combines a novel mass analyser configuration with capabilities for ion fragmentation methods with a novel collection of ion sources, which are designed for generation of singly and multiply charged ions. This, coupled with post-ionisation, will allow for greater sensitivity, broader analyte coverage and enhanced structural characterisation experiments.

Specifically this instrument will incorporate MALDI (Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/ Ionization) and a range of ambient MS ion sources coupled to trapped ion mobility and FT-ICR MS.

Plasma and laser post-ionisation will also be incorporated in the final source design. The inclusion of these post-ionisation methods in this imaging instrument will allow desorbed neutral molecules to be converted to ions, and so molecules previously undetected in MS experiments can be measured, in situ.

The Bruker developed FT ICR (Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer) instrument will include ion fragmentation methods e.g. electron mediated dissociation and collision induced dissociation. Combining FT ICR with the novel collection of ion sources will allow for sensitive and accurate imaging of small molecules, and enhanced sequence coverage for protein identification. Incorporating these features into a high-resolution imaging experiments makes it possible to conduct these methods in a spatially resolved manner.

The highly complex nature of surfaces such as animal and plant tissues, microbes, biofilms and foods present significant challenges in identification and quantification of analytes. Complete identification of many molecules in complex samples cannot be solved by high mass accuracy alone, as many molecules may have the same mass. Furthermore, ion fragmentation methods, such as collision induced dissociation will not always provide sufficient information to differentiate two molecules with identical mass. This issue will be partially resolved by a trapped ion mobility spectrometric (TIMS) analyser, which is a modified ion funnel that can trap ions with different mobilities by using an axial electric field gradient (EFG) profile.

Project team at The Franklin:

Ion source development is also supported by Rory Steven, Efstathios Elia and Weiwei Zhou at NPL.

Project partners:

  • Bruker Ltd.
  • National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Birmingham


Rosalind Franklin Institute