Imaging mass microscope

Shimadzu has launched its new iMScope QT imaging mass microscope. It combines a mass spectrometer with a built-in optical microscope and features advanced analysis speed and imaging capabilities. Its makers believe it to be the only instrument that can obtain mass spectral data associated with morphological information and they say it is the ideal tool for cutting-edge R&D challenges.

The iMScope QT is capable of covering the entire workflow, from sample preparation to easy sample analysis and data analysis. It visualises target compound distributions in microscopic regions, using both microscope images and compound distribution information from the MS. It can be profitably utilised in medical and pharmaceutical applications, as well as in agriculture and food science. For instance, in cancer treatment, the iMScope QT makes it possible to check whether or not the drug has been delivered appropriately. 

As part of the iMScope QT product launch, the iMLayer Aero sprayer for MALDI imaging is also being introduced. The new device sprays the sample evenly and consistently, generating results with a high degree of reproducibility. It complements Shimadzu’s existing iMLayer for matrix sublimation, further automates the matrix spraying pretreatment process and provides further flexibility in MS imaging, including enzyme digestion and analyte derivatisation.

The iMScope QT offers a high-precision stage and extremely stable UV laser in combination with a quadrupole time-of-flight (Q-TOF) mass spectrometer. Together, they achieve a leading spatial resolution of 5 μm. In addition, the iMScope QT boasts three times the mass resolution and five times the image acquisition speed, when compared to the previous model. For example, the imaging of a mouse brain section (14 mm x 7 mm, resolution 20 μm pitch), which previously would have taken four hours, can be completed in around 50 minutes.


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