FT-ICR-MS general description

Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) allows a rapid analysis of small amounts of sample, because the preparation and/or isolation steps can be reduced or eliminated and it combines a high- to ultrahigh mass resolution and very high mass accuracy. It consists of an ion source, a mass analyzer, and a detector which are operated under high vacuum conditions. The application of magnetic and electric fields permits to confine ions for long periods of time and perform complex sequences: ionization, selection, acceleration, ejection, collision, reaction and detection. Different sequences of events correspond to different types of experiments, in which it could be possible to study ions structure, determine sequences of reactant/product and perform kinetic and thermodynamic studies.

This type of mass spectrometer can be regarded as a kind of chemical laboratory, especially designed to study ions in the gas phase. As in a traditional laboratory, it is possible to synthesize, purify, react and analyze the products, all these steps in the same place but separated in time (figure 1).


Figure 1. Analogy between the sequence of events occurring in FT-ICR-MS cell and the traditional laboratory processes.

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