We evaluated a cryogenically cooled superconducting Nb-Al2O3-Nb tunnel junction (STJ) for use as a molecular ion detector in a matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometer. The STJ responds to ion energy and theoretically should detect large molecular ions with a velocity-independent efficiency approaching 100%. The STJ detector produces pulses whose heights are approximately proportional to ion energy, thus the height of a pulse generated by the impact of a doubly charged ion is about twice the height of a singly charged ion pulse. Measurements were performed by bombarding the STJ with human serum albumin (HSA) (66,000 Da) and immunoglobulin (150,000 Da) ions. We demonstrate that pulse height analysis of STJ signals provides a way to distinguish with good discrimination HSA+ from 2HSA2+, whose flight times are coincident. The rise time of STJ detector pulses allows ion flight times to be determined with a precision better than 200 ns, which is a value smaller than the flight time variation typically observed for large isobaric MALDI ions detected with conventional microchannel plate (MCP) detectors. Deflection plates in the flight tube of the mass spectrometer provided a way to aim ions alternatively at a MCP ion detector.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry|
|State||Published - Oct 1 1997|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology