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Mass Spectrometry

Instrument makers advance spectrometry

New ion manipulation techniques promise to improve drug and biochemical analysis

by Marc S. Reisch
November 14, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 45


Credit: Waters
The heart of Waters's cyclic ion mobility device

Advances in ion separation technology are behind a new instrument from Waters being called the first cyclic ion mobility mass spectrometer and a $15 million series A fundraising for the scientific instrumentation start-up MOBILion Systems.

Agilent Technologies, a maker of mass spectrometers with which MOBILion partnered in September, led the fundraising round. Agilent plans to begin offering MOBILion’s ion separation technology on its Q-TOF mass spectrometers in 2020.

MOBILion’s technology, known as structures for lossless ion manipulation (SLIM), was invented by Richard D. Smith at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. By moving ions through a compact serpentine path, SLIM enables fast, high-resolution separation of glycans, proteins, and metabolites for drug research. MOBILion expects to eventually offer SLIM units for mass specs from instrument makers other than Agilent.

MOBILion plans to use the funds to hire more people, advance product development, and generate fee-for-service revenue through a new applications development lab.

Meanwhile, Waters says its Select Series Cyclic IMS mass spectrometer replaces traditional linear ion mobility with a compact cyclic device. Ions travel in a circle, increasing resolution with every pass.

The firm expects scientists will use the instrument to probe deeply into the chemistry and biology of human disease. It just installed the first one at Aston University.



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