Charged particle imaging

A new variation on time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) enables mass-selective images of the spatial or velocity distribution of an ions mass-to-charge point ratio at the point of formation. Spatial map ion imaging has applications in surface imaging techniques and velocity map imaging, which has been used successfully in the field of reaction dynamics to study molecular photofragmentation events and other processes. The Oxford sensor technology allows particle events to be imaged with high spatial and time resolutions. Large numbers of images may be recorded and stored on-chip on the nanosecond to microsecond timescale before readout at slower data rates.

Cutting-edge mass spectrometry

The advent of ultra-fast imaging sensors based on charge-coupled device (CCD) and complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology has expanded the capabilities of powerful techniques such as time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS). Such sensors allow large numbers of images to be recorded and stored on the nanosecond to microsecond timescale before readout at slower data rates.

Charged particle imaging

Oxford researchers have developed a variation on TOFMS which enables mass-selective images of the spatial or velocity distribution of an ion’s mass-to-charge ratio at the point of formation. These techniques provide a wealth of information beyond the scope of traditional measurements.

Spatial-map imaging offers:

  • the ability to develop surface imaging
  • high-throughput multi-sample mass spectrometry
  • an order of magnitude enhancement to speed

Velocity-map imaging provides:

  • detailed information on molecular fragmentation processes
  • structural information on the parent
  • energetics and dynamics information on reaction processes

The technique provides both a standard TOFMS and images for each fragment ion. Larger molecules, such as peptides and oligonucleotides can be studied using this method.

Commercialisation

The technology is protected by a granted US patent and a European patent application. Oxford University Innovation would welcome contact from companies with an interest developing the commercial opportunity.

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