Examples of Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry developments: from ion physics to remote access biochemical mass spectrometry
The application of Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) for high resolution biomolecular analysis has increased greatly after 30 years of innovation since its conception in 1974. FT-ICR-MS can now routinely be used for the analysis of complex organic mixtures such as biological or petrochemical samples. Many of these new possibilities have been the results of many different instrumental developments. This paper provides a mini review of selected instrumental developments that now allow these measurements. The development of soft ionization techniques such as Electrospray ionization (ESI) and Matrix Assisted Laser desorption and Ionisation (MALDI) was crucial for the analysis of biological macromolecules. Improved ion transport optics led to an increase in sensitivity. New ICR cell designs complement the capabilities of FT-ICR-MS by allowing a more thorough study of the mechanism and kinetics of ion reactions in the gas-phase. A selected example of electron capture dissociation (ECD) employs these developments to investigate the role of peptide conformation in ECD. Improved electronics and software allow faster and more flexible experiments. All these improvements led to an increase in speed and sensitivity that are necessary to couple FT-MS to fast separation techniques such as nano-HPLC. The modern FT-ICR-MS instruments can be incorporated in virtual organizations allowing remote access to unique infrastructure. This concept of remote experimentation opens new possibilities for scientific collaborations between expert scientists at different locations and allows the efficient use of this expensive instrumentation.