High-efficiency detection of 66 000 Da protein molecules using a cryogenic detector in a matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of- flight mass spectrometer

Matthias Frank, C. A. Mears, S. E. Labov, W. H. Benner, D. Horn, J. M. Jaklevic, A. T. Barfknecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present the first experimental results obtained using a cryogenically-cooled Nb-Al 2O 3-Nb superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) tunnel junction detector operating at 1.3 K as an ion detector in a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. As opposed to microchannel-plate ion detectors (MCPs) commonly used in such systems, cryogenic detectors such as SIS detectors offer a near 100% detection efficiency for all ions including single, very massive, slow-moving macromolecules. We describe the operating principle of on SIS detector and its use as an ion detector in our matrix- assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight mass spectrometer and compare its response to an MCP detector operated in the same system. To our knowledge, this is the first direct comparison of these detector types in this application. A comparison of count rates and time-of-flight spectra obtained with both detectors for human serum albumin (molecular weight 66 000 Da) indicates a two to three orders of magnitude higher detection efficiency per unit area for the SIS detector at this mass. For higher molecular masses we expect an even higher relative efficiency for cryogenic detectors since MCPs show a rapid decline in detection efficiency as ion mass increases, which is not expected to be the rase for cryogenic detectors. Our results imply that time-of-flight techniques could be extended beyond the current upper mass limit if cryogenic detectors are used. Initially, cryogenic detectors will be used for the analysis of large protein molecules. If non- fragmenting ionization techniques ran be perfected, cryogenic detectors will also open the possibility of the rapid analysis of large DNA molecules and perhaps intact microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1946-1950
Number of pages5
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Volume10
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Mass spectrometers
Cryogenics
Ionization
Desorption
Detectors
Molecules
Lasers
Superconducting materials
Proteins
Ions
Tunnel junctions
Molecular mass
Microchannels
Macromolecules
Serum Albumin
Microorganisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

Cite this

High-efficiency detection of 66 000 Da protein molecules using a cryogenic detector in a matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of- flight mass spectrometer. / Frank, Matthias; Mears, C. A.; Labov, S. E.; Benner, W. H.; Horn, D.; Jaklevic, J. M.; Barfknecht, A. T.

In: Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, Vol. 10, No. 15, 01.12.1996, p. 1946-1950.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "We present the first experimental results obtained using a cryogenically-cooled Nb-Al 2O 3-Nb superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) tunnel junction detector operating at 1.3 K as an ion detector in a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. As opposed to microchannel-plate ion detectors (MCPs) commonly used in such systems, cryogenic detectors such as SIS detectors offer a near 100{\%} detection efficiency for all ions including single, very massive, slow-moving macromolecules. We describe the operating principle of on SIS detector and its use as an ion detector in our matrix- assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight mass spectrometer and compare its response to an MCP detector operated in the same system. To our knowledge, this is the first direct comparison of these detector types in this application. A comparison of count rates and time-of-flight spectra obtained with both detectors for human serum albumin (molecular weight 66 000 Da) indicates a two to three orders of magnitude higher detection efficiency per unit area for the SIS detector at this mass. For higher molecular masses we expect an even higher relative efficiency for cryogenic detectors since MCPs show a rapid decline in detection efficiency as ion mass increases, which is not expected to be the rase for cryogenic detectors. Our results imply that time-of-flight techniques could be extended beyond the current upper mass limit if cryogenic detectors are used. Initially, cryogenic detectors will be used for the analysis of large protein molecules. If non- fragmenting ionization techniques ran be perfected, cryogenic detectors will also open the possibility of the rapid analysis of large DNA molecules and perhaps intact microorganisms.",
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AU - Frank, Matthias

AU - Mears, C. A.

AU - Labov, S. E.

AU - Benner, W. H.

AU - Horn, D.

AU - Jaklevic, J. M.

AU - Barfknecht, A. T.

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N2 - We present the first experimental results obtained using a cryogenically-cooled Nb-Al 2O 3-Nb superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) tunnel junction detector operating at 1.3 K as an ion detector in a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. As opposed to microchannel-plate ion detectors (MCPs) commonly used in such systems, cryogenic detectors such as SIS detectors offer a near 100% detection efficiency for all ions including single, very massive, slow-moving macromolecules. We describe the operating principle of on SIS detector and its use as an ion detector in our matrix- assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight mass spectrometer and compare its response to an MCP detector operated in the same system. To our knowledge, this is the first direct comparison of these detector types in this application. A comparison of count rates and time-of-flight spectra obtained with both detectors for human serum albumin (molecular weight 66 000 Da) indicates a two to three orders of magnitude higher detection efficiency per unit area for the SIS detector at this mass. For higher molecular masses we expect an even higher relative efficiency for cryogenic detectors since MCPs show a rapid decline in detection efficiency as ion mass increases, which is not expected to be the rase for cryogenic detectors. Our results imply that time-of-flight techniques could be extended beyond the current upper mass limit if cryogenic detectors are used. Initially, cryogenic detectors will be used for the analysis of large protein molecules. If non- fragmenting ionization techniques ran be perfected, cryogenic detectors will also open the possibility of the rapid analysis of large DNA molecules and perhaps intact microorganisms.

AB - We present the first experimental results obtained using a cryogenically-cooled Nb-Al 2O 3-Nb superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) tunnel junction detector operating at 1.3 K as an ion detector in a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. As opposed to microchannel-plate ion detectors (MCPs) commonly used in such systems, cryogenic detectors such as SIS detectors offer a near 100% detection efficiency for all ions including single, very massive, slow-moving macromolecules. We describe the operating principle of on SIS detector and its use as an ion detector in our matrix- assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight mass spectrometer and compare its response to an MCP detector operated in the same system. To our knowledge, this is the first direct comparison of these detector types in this application. A comparison of count rates and time-of-flight spectra obtained with both detectors for human serum albumin (molecular weight 66 000 Da) indicates a two to three orders of magnitude higher detection efficiency per unit area for the SIS detector at this mass. For higher molecular masses we expect an even higher relative efficiency for cryogenic detectors since MCPs show a rapid decline in detection efficiency as ion mass increases, which is not expected to be the rase for cryogenic detectors. Our results imply that time-of-flight techniques could be extended beyond the current upper mass limit if cryogenic detectors are used. Initially, cryogenic detectors will be used for the analysis of large protein molecules. If non- fragmenting ionization techniques ran be perfected, cryogenic detectors will also open the possibility of the rapid analysis of large DNA molecules and perhaps intact microorganisms.

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