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Friday, June 6, 2008

Agilent ups ante with new GC/MS and LC/MS technology

The American Society for Mass Spectrometry meeting (ASMS) was the scene of a lot of activity from Agilent this week as the lab instrument specialist unleashed new mass spectrometer products at the show.
It was a chance for the research community to get a sneak preview of new technology that Agilent says smashes existing sensitivity barriers that currently restrict current gas chromatograph/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) and liquid chromatograph/mass spectroscopy (LC/MS) machines.

LC-MS is used to analyse a wider range of compounds than GC-MS. Large, polar and thermally labile analytes that are not amenable to GC may be studied by LC-MS without derivatization.

Agilent's 7000A triple quadrupole GC/MS is designed to achieve femtogram-level sensitivity and make high-speed Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) accessible to a range of commercial and government users.

Setting new standards in sensitivity, the 7000A claims to support this position by delivering femtogram-level sensitivity. For example, the system will detect 100fg of OFN on column at greater than 100:1 signal-to-noise ratio in MS/MS mode using Autotune parameters.

Mass range is 1050 u, and the fast MRM speed of 500 per second enables users to determine more compounds per ion group than with comparable instruments.

Agilent also makes available the 6460 triple quadrupole LC/MS, a system that lowers detection limits fivefold compared to older instruments, allow sub-femtogram detection levels for many compounds.

The system is designed to excel analysis of trace-level environmental or food contaminants, pharmaceutical compounds, metabolites and protein biomarkers.

"In just two years, the 6400 triple quad LC/MS product line has demonstrated huge performance gains," said Gustavo Salem, Agilent vice president and general manager, LC/MS Division.

"Dramatic sensitivity gains, faster polarity switching, faster and more MRMs in a method, using either time segments or scheduling, and HPLC improvements are a few examples," he added.

The 6460 packs some serious technology to achieve this performance and includes a resistively coated sampling capillary that enhances ion transmission and enables rapid ion-polarity switching with minimal ion loss.

Also included is a high-capacity vacuum system with a second turbomolecular pump that increases conductance throughout the mass analyzer.

According to BCC research, the mass spectroscopy market in the US holds a total market share of about $1.3bn in 2005 and an average annual growth rate of almost 9 per cent projected through 2010, resulting in a $2bn market share.

This market includes regular mass spectroscopy along with chromatography (gas or liquid) and gas and liquid combinations (hyphenated) spectroscopy.

It is estimated that the total US market exceeded $3.6bn in 2005 and will grow at an average rate of 7.7 per cent per year through 2010, when it is forecast to achieve sales of more than $5.2bn.

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