2012 R&D 100 Winner
AI421_Protea_LAESI1Mass spectrometry technologies that effectively analyze biological samples in water exist, but often the analysis must be performed under vacuum or—in the case of spatial characterization—requires sample preparation or the addition of a matrix.

The LAESI DP-1000 Direct Ionization System, from Protea Biosciences, Morgantown, W.V., combines laser resolution capabilities with the benefits of electrospray ionization to allow researchers to profile the distribution of biomolecules in water without the need for vacuum. This direct sample analysis of living cells results in better results and increased sensitivity without the artifacts commonly seen with sample preparation.

The LAESI DP-1000 directly ionizes samples in a two-step process: laser ablation followed by electrospray ionization. The process begins when the sample is ablated by a short, mid-infrared laser pulse that is tuned to the strong absorption line of liquid water (2,940 nm). This laser pulse creates a small plume of non-ionized material. As the plume collapses, a secondary jet of material is ejected from the sample surface and into the ESI stream where it is ionized. The ionized material is then swept into the mass spectrometer for analysis. The system can also directly profile tissue samples in three dimensions, using the same system.

High-throughput ionization system

Protea Bioscience Group Inc.

Development Team

(l-r) Greg Boyce, Haddon Goodman, Brent Reschke, Trust Razunguzwa, Pamela Williams, Holly Henderson, Todd Ornduff, Katherine Moss, Steve Reimer, Callee Walsh, Matthew Powell



The LAESI DP-1000 Direct Ionization System Development Team from Protea Biosciences Group Inc.
Matthew Powell, Principal Developer
Greg Boyce
Haddon Goodman
Holly Henderson
Katherine Moss
Todd Ornduff
Trust Razunguzwa
Stephen Reimer
Brent Reschke
Callee Walsh
Pamela Williams
Akos Vertes, George Washington University
Peter Nemes, U.S. Food and Drug Administration