Office of Science

Instrument Development Laboratory: Innovations

The Instrument Development Laboratory (IDL) is advancing world-class science and technology through the contributions of talented engineers and technicians. A selection of representative projects the IDL has lent design and fabrication expertise follows.

7-12 Tesla FTICR Mass Spectrometers

The IDL Team has built the electronics and data systems for EMSLs Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometers. These instruments are being used to probe the molecular structure of large biopolymers at world-record spectroscopic resolutions. The development of very sensitive, high-speed amplifiers by the IDL has been central to the success of these instruments.

The IDL produced ICR-2LS, a Windows-based software application for FTICR mass spectrometry, which includes data analysis and advanced control. The program improves instrument detection capabilities through the use of digital signal processing techniques and provides extensive tools for the analysis of the mass spectra of biopolymers.

Radio frequency Ion Funnel Development

The Electrodynamic Ion Funnel uses a combination of radio frequency and direct current electric potentials to tightly focus ions in gases. These fields, along with collisions with neutral atoms, effectively and efficiently create large currents of ions, allowing close to 100% efficiency in ion transmission. Electrospray ionization is a method for generating ions from neutral samples in liquids that is seeing broad application in biological applications of mass spectrometry. To improve the sensitivity of analytical instruments using electrospray, one must improve the transmission of ions from the source into a mass spectrometer for detection. The radio frequency ion funnel device—built by the IDL—has been shown to improve ion transmission efficiency by a factor of ~100 in such systems. The device won an R&D 100 award in 1999.

IDL Capability Lead: Ryan Kelly | , 509-371-6525