LC-MS/MS are composed of a liquid chromatography system (LC) that is coupled with a mass spectrometer (MS). The LC systems allow the separation of molecules on an analytical column and the MS instrument allow the formation of ions and their detection.
The LC systems can resolve various compounds depending on the column type and the characteristics and set up of the pumps.
The MS instruments are composed of various different technologies of mass analyzers. There are mainly triple quadrupole, 2D or 3D ion trap, time-of-flight, orbitrap mass analyser technologies . Applications of MS technologies can show overlaps even if the MS technologies are frequently associated with specific measurements.
A schema of a LC-MS/MS instrument is depicted in the file below.
what_are_LCMS.ppt (188 Kb)
Liquid Chromatography at qMSF
At qMSF, each liquid chromatography systems (LC) that are coupled to the mass spectrometers, are composed of 2 UHPLC pumps. These pumps are from from Flux Instruments AG (www.flux.ch) and compatible with ultra high pressures and columns with particle siye < 2.2 micrometer (see pictures below). Available LC systems and set up allow multi-dimension analysis such as for 2D-LC, parrallel LC etc... that is a prerequisite for complex separation, fast or very sensitive analyses.
The 2 autosamplers (injectors) are HTC systems from CTC PAL Analytics (see picture below; www.ctc.ch).
Mass spectrometers at qMSF
qMSF has two mass spectrometers (MS): An Exactive Plus high resolution MS, a triple quadrupole MS (TSQ quantum discovery) and a linear ion trap MS (LTQ) both from Thermo Corp (http://www.thermo.com). In May 2012, our ion trap has been replaced by an Exactive Plus MS (Thermo Corp, Bremen, Germany), a loan form Thermo Corp.
This is very usefull to have these complementary technologies. Indeed, questions and projects can be carried through with one or both instruments depending on the questions to be answered. The next instrument that qMSF would like to have is the upgrade our MS to orbitrap MS/MS technology. The capability of accurate mass determination high resolution MS will undoubtly help in most research projects and applications.