Powerful and simple to use mass spectrometers

1st April 2013

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Laboratories are demanding low-cost, high throughput, affordable mass spec solutions, as the latest release demonstrate. Sean Ottewell reports.

SPECTRO Analytical Instruments, a leading supplier of analytical instruments for optical emission and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, has introduced the SPECTROBLUE, an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES) that the company believes sets new benchmarks among compact, mid-range spectrometers for simplified operation, low maintenance and affordability (Fig.1).

"SPECTROBLUE ICP-OES is the ideal system for environmental laboratories that require a low-cost, high-throughput spectrometry solution. SPECTROBLUE was designed to establish new levels of performance for common laboratory analysis where stability, uninterrupted operation and throughput are as important as sensitivity and resolution. It couples an ultra-reliable design with no-compromise technical innovation to achieve the lowest cost of ownership in its class," said Olaf Schulz, product manager ICP-OES.

A robust generator design packs an ample power reserve that can handle the most extreme plasma loads. Heat from the generator's high-power ceramic tube is eliminated through the use of innovative air-cooled technology that alleviates the need for an expensive external water-based cooling system.

"By simplifying the design of the SPECTROBLUE, we have reduced the instrument's initial purchase price along with its operating cost," added Schulz. "Developed specifically to meet the demands of high-throughput laboratories, the SPECTROBLUE's field-proven generator provides the exceptional uptime, stability, and reliability. Its unique OPIAir optical plasma interface makes SPECTROBLUE the first ICP-OES without purchase and energy costs for external cooling."

Advion and AB SCIEX have launched the liquid extraction surface analysis (LESA) Clarity as part of an ongoing collaboration between the two companies and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). It offers additional functionality and ease-of-use to the commercially successful LESA sample analysis system introduced in March 2010.

Drugs to biofuels

LESA Clarity is well-suited for researchers developing novel drugs, new forensic tools, better biofuels, and improvements in food safety. It offers new capabilities that increase performance and unrivalled ease-of-use for AB SCIEX mass spectrometry users.

A real-time high definition camera system has been added for viewing the solvent droplet interaction with the surface, simplifying method development while enabling fine control.

LESA Clarity also integrates Analyst, an AB SCIEX software platform, and ChipSoft, the TriVersa NanoMate software, allowing researchers to operate the system from a single computer with one sample batch queue. As a result, all data is stored in a single file.

"LESA Clarity is yet another advancement to the well-established capabilities of the TriVersa NanoMate and LESA technology. This demonstrates Advion's commitment to scientific excellence, yielding more information and enabling higher throughput," stated David B Patteson, ceo of Advion. "Advion and AB SCIEX have had a joint marketing agreement since 2003 as part of Advion's global initiative to introduce the benefits of automated nanoESI through strategic alliances. This collaboration helps both companies continue to bring the latest technologies to our combined customers."

The TriVersa NanoMate with LESA technology operates by positioning a disposable pipette tip above a preselected location on the sample, and delivers a droplet of solvent into contact with the surface of any planar sample, thereby extracting the analytes.

The analyte-rich droplet is retracted into the pipette tip and delivered to the back of the 400-nozzle ESI Chip using Advion's nanoESI's long, stable spray times for deeper MS analysis. The sampling locations are built into a batch queue for subsequent automatic analysis.

Residue analysis

For its part, Bruker Chemical Analysis has announced that the Korean National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service (NAQS) has ordered six of its triple-quadrupole gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) systems for pesticide residue analysis and general monitoring of agricultural products.

With an experimental research institute in Seoul and multiple branch offices throughout South Korea, NAQS has selected Bruker to install the triple-quadrupole GC-MS systems in each of its local laboratories for detection and monitoring of more than 220 pesticide residues in agricultural products. NAQS aims to develop enhanced food testing analytical approaches for Korean agriculture through the collection of informative statistical data for agricultural business, policy making and academic research.

To do so most effectively, NAQS is currently upgrading its portfolio of analytical instrumentation and certification protocols to ensure that highest quality standards can be applied.

Accurate and reliable screening for the presence of pesticides in food is a major analytical challenge. The increasing number of pesticides poses special analytical challenges with several hundred different pesticides requiring identification and quantitation. Bruker has pioneered high-performance triple-quadrupole GC-MS systems for lower detection limits, higher specificity and greater reliability in GC-MS food analysis.

Recently Bruker also introduced the new SCION triple-quadrupole GC-MS as the new performance leader to accelerate the adoption of easy-to-use, affordable and robust triple-quadrupole technology as the new analytical gold standard for GC-MS (Fig.2).

Hamamatsu Photonics has just introduced its new C9405CB mini-spectrometer. This new TM spectrometer module utilises a transmission grating and a new ultra high sensitivity IR enhanced charge coupled device (CCD).

By utilising Hamamatsu's technology in laser processing, it is possible to form a MEMS structure on the back side of the CCD, which results in an increased sensitivity at wavelengths longer than 800nm. The CCD within the C9405CB features a quantum efficiency of 40 per cent at 1000nm, without the need for a deep depletion structure, with its corresponding drawback of higher dark signal.

The C9405CB features a high resolution of 5nm, over a wavelength range of 500-1100nm. Over the range 800-1100nm the IR Enhanced CCD of the C9405CB achieves ten times the sensitivity of a conventional front illuminated CCD, extending the range of applications for which this miniature spectrometer can be used.

The C9405CB consists of a palm-top size polychromator integrated with optical elements, an IR Enhanced CCD together with an image sensor driver circuit. The standard spectrometer module also includes an integrated USB interface to allow simple PC connection and data acquisition. The module is supplied with sample software, which allows the end user to set measurement conditions, acquire and save data and display it graphically, thus making it quick and easy to start taking basic spectral measurements.

This new miniature spectrometer module is ideal for applications requiring a spectrometer with very high IR sensitivity that has good spectral resolution. In particular the C9405CB is suited to medical diagnostics, chromatography applications, food sorting and thickness monitoring.

Ultra-high performance

Shimadzu UK is delivering reference grade performance and research grade footprint with the launch of a new series of ultra-high performance scanning spectrophotometers. The new instruments offer high-precision spectral analysis of a wide range of samples including organic and inorganic compounds, biological samples, optical materials and photovoltaic devices.

The small footprint UV-2700 is a double-beam double-monochromator system that covers a wavelength range from 185 to 900nm for direct measurement of high density samples up to 8 Abs or orders of magnitude higher than normal research grade instruments.

The UV-2600 model greatly expands a researcher's measurement capabilities. The instrument's ultra-low stray light LO-RAY-LIGH grating delivers 5 Abs performance and, by adding the new ISR-2600 Plus dual detector integrating sphere, extends the transmission or reflectance measuring range up to 1400 nm.

Finally PerkinElmer has launched its Optima 8x00 series of ICP-OESs. The Optima 8x00 ICP-OES platform offers improved performance and reduced operating costs for analysis of environmental, food, pharmaceutical, product safety and geochemical samples. ICP-OES is a highly sensitive, rapid technique for determining the elemental composition of a wide variety of sample types.

"Whether the challenge is identifying and quantifying environmental contaminants, or determining the quality of pharmaceuticals and nutraceutical supplements, the new Optima 8x00 series is an ideal solution for today's laboratories," said Dusty Tenney, president, analytical sciences and laboratory services, PerkinElmer.


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