Ion mobility: Providing better answers for age-old problems

By June 26, 2015

For many years, the prevailing wisdom has been that in the event of chromatographic coelution, caused by complex samples, what is needed is a high-resolution mass spectrometer that can accurately identify different species contained within that single peak.

However, even with the highest levels of resolution some ionisation patterns can be obscured by other species and become very difficult to identify.

What if there was a better way?

Fortunately, there is. Using the latest innovations in ion mobility separation in combination with high resolution mass spectrometry, Waters developed the SYNAPT ion mobility mass spectrometer that revolutionised many research applications by enabling the separation of species by molecular size and shape as well as weight (mass to charge ratio).


Researchers can now routinely rely on ion mobility separations.

Today, the Vion IMS QTof mass spectrometer builds on the success of SYNAPT and brings ion mobility to a wider audience, enabling an extra ion mobility separation step to be conducted for each and every chromatographic peak.

Using Vion IMS QTof, analysts can now generate clean and unambiguous mass spectra for each individual ion. In addition, the ion mobility separation generates collisional cross section (CCS) data that provides insight into the structural nature of every ion.

Experiments show that CCS values obtained are reproducible, stable over time, and consistent across different systems. This makes CCS values an excellent additional data source that can assist in compound identification as values can be compared to existing data libraries.

This data can be particularly helpful when identifying low intensity species in various screening applications in pharmaceutical or food applications. For instance, the combination of mass and CCS data can help avoid false negatives and positives – and this can save days of additional analysis.

But surely this is too complicated for a routine lab user?

Far from it. The Vion IMS QTof has been designed to fit into standard analytical workflows and be used as a routine instrument. Every detail, from its simple “start” button to its streamlined workflow, user friendly interface and simple informatics integration capabilities make this the perfect partner for achieving high levels of analysis productivity and clarity about sample ID.



Read more: What’s the big deal about ion mobility mass spectrometry?

Categories: Technologies