Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - ACID (Analytical Chemistry Instrumentation Development)

Progress in a wide range of disciplines relies on the development of novel instrumentation. Pushing the limits of analytical equipment results in benefits, for example, through the discovery of illness biomarkers. This project is framed in the field of instrumentation development, in particular for the detection of vapors in real time, and with high sensitivity. Here, we have joined the expertise of an engineering SME (SEADM) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) to address the following scientific and technological developments:

Delivery of pre-marketable ionization sources that ultimately will be commercialized as an add-on for pre-existing mass spectrometers (MS). This represents a cost-effective option for researchers willing to transform their MS systems into efficient detectors of vapors. During the first two years of this project we have developed a numerically optimized secondary electrospray ionization (SESI) source. This add-on has shown unparalleled sensitivity and is fully compatible with major mass spectrometry vendors. During its development we have gained insights into the ionization mechanism of SESI by studying the response of SESI-MS towards drugs vapors in the parts-per-trillion (ppt) range. This improved SESI ionizer coupled to a high resolution mass spectrometer to investigate its potential in the analysis of living organisms, including humans (breath), plants and yeast. This novel SESI add-on has elicited great interest among other scientists at ETH. As a result, our work has been highlighted in ETH news

This instrument is now SEADM’s product portfolio As a result, SEADM has strengthened its position in the market.

SEADM has developed an ion mobility spectrometer (dubbed DMA), which can be readily interfaced with pre-existing MS instruments. During this project, we have developed a third generation of SESI-DMA-MS systems with improved sensitivity over its predecessor. In addition, an atmospheric pressure photo-ionization (APPI) source has been developed as an alternative to SESI to virtually extend the analyte coverage of SEADM’s best analytical platform for the analysis of ambient vapors. The APPI source has enabled the highly sensitive determination of particularly non-polar analytes not typically amenable to SESI.

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Life Sciences