A Spectral Overview
A rundown of newly introduced spectrometers.
Spectroscopy is an analytical technique used to identify and determine the physical characteristics of materials through the measurement of emissions and absorption of electromagnetic spectra. A staple in any research laboratory, the technique makes its main home in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and chemical laboratories.
The value of the U.S. spectroscopy market, according to data from BCC Research, is about $6.5 billion in 2014, with a five-year CAGR rate of 6%. The data indicates that the spectroscopy instrumentation market for pharmaceutical applications is expected to reach $1.4 billion and molecular spectroscopy is projected to rise to nearly $2.4 billion in 2014. The biotechnology application segment is projected to expand to $1.3 billion in 2014.
Mass spec targets life science, military applications
Developing new life-saving drugs and improving the efficacy and quality of existing therapeutic biologics drive the demand for innovation in the biopharmaceutical industry. To address this need, AB Sciex LLC, Framingham, Mass., introduced a technology solution called CESI-MS, at Pittcon 2014. With the new method, biopharmaceutical scientists are able to more accurately predict efficacy, reduce the time-to-market for new therapeutics and proactively detect potential issues before they lead to costly product recalls.
CESI is a combination of capillary electrophoresis (CE) and electrospray ionization (ESI) technologies to create an integrated workflow solution. The CESI-MS workflow includes an ultra-low-flow separation and ESI module for biologics, along with a high-performance, high-resolution, accurate mass instrument ideal for biopharmaceutical development. The CESI 8000 system for biologics characterization is a high-performance separation-electrospray ionization system for mass spectrometry. The front-end CESI technology can be integrated with the AB Sciex TripleTOF 5600+ mass spectrometry system. With a single approach, the CESI 8000 provides orthogonal and/or superior results compared to dual-method LC/MS-based approaches. From a single digest and run, users can gain identity and purity information with 100% coverage in a peptide map; heterogeneity information with ultra-sensitive glycopeptide quantification; and stability information identifying, deamidation, cyclization and oxidation.
A new approach for getting high sensitivity and ease-of-use of mass spectrometry for applications ranging from bioanalyses and pharmacokinetics studies to food safety and environmental analyses, Waters Corp., Milford, Mass., introduced the Waters ionKey/MS System at Pittcon 2014. Intended for use with Waters ACQUITY UPLC M-Class System and Xevo TQ-S Mass Spectrometer, the ionKey/MS System physically integrates a UPLC separation into the mass spectrometer, producing an improvement in sensitivity, enabling scientists to achieve excellent separation and detection of compounds.
In addition to the enhanced sensitivity, the ionKey/MS is plug-and-play in nature, with no fittings and columns. The ionKey/MS System’s iKey microfluidic separation device—about the size of a smartphone—contains the fluidic connections, electronics, ESI interface, column heater, eCord Intelligent Chip Technology and the 1.7-µm UltraPerformance liquid chromatography (UPLC)-grade particles packed inside a 150-µm identification channel to perform hundreds of UPLC separations reproducibly and reliably without degradation in performance. The iKey separation device is designed so that it takes a few seconds for a scientist to insert it into the source of the mass spectrometer and, with the turn of a key, make the fluidic and electric connections and lock it into place. Besides storing the iKey device’s dimensions, chemistry type, serial number, manufacturing and QC history, the eCord chip captures and records usage data information. Usage data that is tied to the individual iKey device can be accessed with Waters Empower Chromatography Data Software and Mass Lynx Mass Spectrometry Software.
Extending the applications envelope of MALDI TOF/TOF beyond the conventional concepts of what’s possible in molecular histology, glycoprotein and biopharmaceutical analysis, Bruker introduced the newest member in its Flex series of MALDI TOF/TOF mass spectrometers, the autoflex speed, at Pittcon 2014. The autoflex speed is designed to enhance the productivity of laboratories involved in protein sequencing, biomarker discovery, polymer analysis, lipid and glycan analysis and high-throughput MALDI Biotype microbiological molecular identification.
System configurations can be optimized for many analytical operations and environments utilizing both TOF and TOF/TOF modes in combination with dedicated hardware and software tools for a variety of proteomics, imaging, polymer and small-molecule applications. The autoflex speed system features the Bruker smartbeam-II laser, with up to 2-kHz repetition rate with true-pixel resolution at 20 µm for proteins. The system’s FAST-SRM mode provides single reaction monitoring capabilities for imaging of drugs and metabolites in tissue and its expanded high-resolution mass range is important for analysis of polymers and top-down, intact protein sequencing for long sequence readouts. Its FlashDetector technology increases resolution and prevents signal saturation for complex samples, and its self-cleaning ion source cleans the instrument source in minutes to improve system up-time with minimal operator maintenance. The system also features optimized software packages for many life science and materials science applications.
While life sciences find great benefits from mass spectrometers, new applications in military are underway. Specifically engineered for civilian users, first responders and military teams, 908 Devices, Boston, has introduced the first truly handheld tool utilizing high-pressure mass spectrometry (HPMS), providing accurate, immediate detection and identification of trace level chemical and explosive hazards at the point-of-action. While conventional mass spectrometers are confined to centralized laboratories by their large size, fragility and complexity of operation and maintenance, 908 Devices’ HPMS technology is a portable mass spec system. The M908 weighs less than 4.4 lbs and is battery powered for continuous operation in the field. 908 Devices’ HPMS technology, which powers the M908, uses diminutive ion traps that measure less than 1 mm in diameter and are capable of operation at 10,000 times higher pressure than those in conventional mass spec systems. This enables the use of small, rugged vacuum pumps, micro ionizers, detectors and efficient electronics.
NMR highlights for academia
For organic chemists, carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) forms the backbone of routine molecular analysis. And, for the first time, users have the power of a 1-D and 2-D proton-carbon NMR in a benchtop instrument that can be safely used in the laboratory—the Spinsolve Carbon. Magritek’s Spinsolve Carbon offers users 1-D 1H, 19F and 13C experiments that use standard 5-mm NMR tubes. 13C experiments include spectral editing with DEPT, 2-D direct HETCOR experiments and 2-D indirect experiments such as HMQC and HMBC. Both proton 2-D COSY and homonuclear j-resolved spectroscopy are offered along with T1 and T2 relaxation experiments. The benchtop NMR spectrometers require no cryogens and are maintenance free. Simple, one-button operation with minimal user-controlled parameters coupled to an intuitive graphical interface makes the system easy to operate by anyone—from students to research chemists. For reaction monitoring applications, the system may be automated and integrates closely with MNova data processing software from Mestrelab.
In laboratories where time to getting results is imperative, ease of operation makes the NMR system an ideal solution for students and chemists who want immediate results. 13C NMR spectroscopy delivers more detail in its spectra than use of the more basic 1H nucleus. Carbon has a large chemical shift range of approximately 250 ppm, and using composite pulse decoupling there is usually a single peak per carbon atom in the molecule making carbon spectra more informative than proton spectra. The multi-nuclear and multi-dimensional experiments reveal additional structural information such as how carbon and proton atoms in the molecule are connected. This enables NMR to easily resolve isomers that are often confused with other analytical methods.
Academic and industrial laboratories can now easily collect routine high-resolution NMR data on molecules in solution using Thermo Fisher Scientific’s, Waltham, Mass., picoSpin 80, a portable NMR spectrometer built for benchtop operation. The instrument’s magnet, rated at 2 T, is designed to provide high resolution of chemical and structural characteristics not available using lower magnetic field strengths. The spectrometer features a temperature-controlled magnet that doesn’t require liquid cryogen and a lightweight, portable design intended to make sharing the instrument across multiple laboratories easy. The instrument also features an easy-to-operate fluid capillary system that doesn’t require NMR tubes or other consumables.
UV and IR spectra
For applications ranging from chemical catalysis to Raman analysis, Ocean Optics, Dunedin, Fla., at Pittcon 2014 introduced the Maya LSL (low stray light) spectrometer, a combination of a back-thinned CCD array detector and low stray light optical design resulting in high-sensitivity, high-throughput performance. With rapid response and high accuracy, the Maya LSL is suitable for demanding applications in the life sciences and process monitoring industries. In production applications, such as color measurements for QC, Maya LSL’s combination of speed, sensitivity and throughput help to reduce measurement errors and ensure accuracy. LED sorting, plasma monitoring and QC all benefit from the high color accuracy of the Maya LSL and its capability to make measurements in milliseconds.
The Maya LSL takes advantage of two modular spectroscopy technologies. First, the instrument’s f/3 optical design includes a toroidal grating that corrects optical aberrations and improves stray light performance, extending the spectrometer’s measurement range up to 3.0 absorption units, a 30% advantage compared with competitive designs. With very low stray light performance of 0.015% at 400 nm, the Maya LSL offers value to users making quantitation measurements particularly in QA/QC and routine laboratory environments. Second, the spectrometer has a back-thinned CCD detector that increases the sensitivity of the spectrometer and allows for faster, full-spectrum measurements. The spectrometer interfaces to a computer via a USB port and couples to Ocean Optics accessories for convenient experiment setups. The instrument is available with a variety of slits, filters and optical bench accessories for optimizing configurations.
Also at Pittcon 2014, Bruker introduced the first Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer that covers the complete mid- and far-infrared/terahertz (THz) spectral range in one step—the VERTEX 70 series. The achievable spectral range of a FTIR spectrometer is defined by its source, beamsplitter and detector combination. The lower limit of the spectral range is dependent upon the beamsplitter, and is typically limited to 350 cm-1 (KBr) or 200 cm-1 (CsI). To extend the spectral range further into the far-IR and THz spectral ranges, one or more additional far-IR beamsplitters and detectors are required and, because of this, the user has to manually open the access flap of the spectrometer optics bench.
Now, Bruker has developed a wide spectral range beamsplitter and detector which in connection with the standard infrared (IR) source, enables access to the spectral range for 6,000 cm-1 down to 30 cm-1 in one step for all types of transmittance, reflectance and ATR measurements. The optical components complement the automatic beamsplitter changer unit BMS-c and detector switching option already available for the VERTEX 80v high-end research FTIR spectrometer. When the VERTEX 70v vacuum spectrometer is equipped with the wide range optical components, the spectral range is extended down to 10 cm-1, utilizing the external water-cooled mercury arc high-power lamp and automatic source switching. The extension of the mid-IR towards the far-IR spectral range below 400 cm-1 is of general interest for molecular vibrational analysis for inorganic and organometallic chemistry, as well as for geological, pharmaceutical and physical applications.
Combining high speed, sensitivity and resolution with enhanced expandability and easy-to-use software, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments Inc.’s, Columbia, Md., IRTracer-100 quickly and easily obtains high-quality data for samples in pharmaceuticals, foods, chemicals and electronics. The FTIR spectrophotometer offers 60,000:1 signal-to-noise ratio, which allows researchers to obtain high-quality data of ultra-small contaminants. With a resolution of 0.25 cm-1, the instrument offers high-accuracy quantitation and identification. A rapid scan function allows sample acquisitions of 20 spectra/sec, which enables analysis of reactions occurring within a few seconds and kinetic studies occurring in less than one second. The spectrophotometer features a stable, airtight interferometer that incorporates a built-in automatic dehumidifier, which the Advanced Dynamic Alignment system, sampling at over 5,000 times/sec, works in combination with a smooth-moving mirror to ensure high performance, enhance stability and shorten warm-up times. Optimized for network applications, LabSolutions IR software features an intuitive user interface, an extensive library of spectra and a high-performance search function. User-friendly macro functions automate routine work for enhanced work efficiency.