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High-speed separation by ion mobility

16th June 2014


Owlstone Ltd, a developer of next-generation chemical sensing products and solutions, haslaunched the UltraFAIMS series of products, developed to enhance mass spectrometry (MS) by quickly simplifying complex mass spectra, separating isobaric ions and reducing background. 

UltraFAIMS is a miniaturised chip-based FAIMS (Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry) platform technology developed by Owlstone. UltraFAIMS can be interfaced with mass spectrometers to provide an additional in-source separation stage for isobaric analytes, protein and peptide charge states, large and small proteins, isomers and conformers. 

Miniaturising the chip has allowed Owlstone to generate much higher field strengths than have been available in FAIMS systems up to now. This means that a greater range of analytes can be separated, at faster speeds, without compromising the system sensitivity.

UltraFAIMS ion filters incorporate the miniaturised FAIMS chip

The UltraFAIMS ion filters incorporate the miniaturised FAIMS chip, and can be retrofitted onto mass spectrometers. The low-cost modules have been shown to improve mass accuracy and detection limits, increase the level of quantitation and dynamic range, reduce background and provide additional real-time separation within LC peaks.

Once installed, UltraFAIMS can be turned on to provide extra separation, or turned off to allow transmission of all species simultaneously – there is no need to remove it from the system when not in use. Its small size (height, width and depth ˜ 20cm) and straightforward interface mean it can easily be added to an established laboratory setup.

Professor Colin Creaser, Head of the Centre for Analytical Science at Loughborough University, whose group has been working with a pre-production instrument, said: “Owlstone’s chip-based FAIMS system is very straightforward to use and has demonstrated potential for the analysis of small molecules, peptides and proteins. We are particularly excited about its ability to enhance high-throughput mass spectrometry applications by separating target ion responses from isobaric and isomeric ions.”

The product range includes:

* UltraFAIMS-A1, compatible with Agilent 6130/6150 (SQ), 6460 (QQQ), 6230 (TOF) and 6530/6540 (QTOF);

* UltraFAIMS-T1, compatible with Thermo Exactive Series & LTQ-Orbitrap;

* UltraFAIMS-DK1 (developer kit), which is available for instrument developers or vendors who wish to interface with a mass spectrometer or source for which an off-the-shelf interface isn’t currently available.





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