Tuning the Front End: Increasing Ion Generation for Enhanced Sensitivity in Mass Spectrometry with Multiple ESI Emitters

Mass spectrometry is a chemical analysis technique for determining the mass/charge ratio of molecules under study. The instruments used for this technique require the compounds be transformed into gas-phase ions. This process is extraordinarily difficult with Nobel prizes awarded for the two most common methods. One of these methods is electrospray ionization where dissolved compounds are pumped through a tapered needle or emitter that is held at an electrical potential difference from the mass spectrometer. This electrospray generates fine droplets that are electrically charged; as the liquid evaporates the charge remains on the molecules of interest for analysis in the mass spectrometer. Recent developments have shown that splitting this flow of droplets can increase the rate of ion generation and hence increase the sensitivity of the instrumentation. This project will involve the fabrication and characterization of a custom electrospray emitter with nine channels resulting in multiple electrosprays. The intern will be looking to improve metrics in standard metabolomics-type experiments commonly used to examine biological problems. Trajan Scientific and Medical will then prepare to commercialize the technology.

David Simon
Faculty Supervisor: 
Richard Oleschuk
Partner University: