shutterstock_384355429I have been a chromatographer for many years — first using systems in the lab and then selling HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) systems for 17 years. Over these years there were many advances in HPLC and mass spectrometry and I was always excited to use or sell new technologies.

When I was working in the lab and I needed to confirm my synthesis, I would bring my sample to the “Mass Spec Lab” to make sure I was producing what I thought I was. Single quadrupole systems, or single quads as they are affectionately known, were part of the mass spectrometry labs and run by mass spectrometrists. I was told by someone in the mass spec group that I would never be able to learn mass spectrometry! What? I always love a good challenge and made the decision that I was going to learn mass spectrometry.

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Fast forward to early 2000 and analytical instrument vendors began designing, manufacturing and selling single quadrupoles that were easier to use and designed for the chromatographer just like the Thermo Scientific™ ISQ™ EC single quadrupole mass spectrometer.  I began teaching chromatography customers how to pair chromatography with mass spectrometry.  The turning point came when a customer was scaling up a synthesis before moving the project over to manufacturing. The customer was using an HPLC system with a DAD (Diode Array Detector) and a single quad to confirm their API (active pharmaceutical ingredient). Well what would you know?  The customer had an impurity co-eluting with the API and only discovered this because they were using a single quadrupole detector. Discovering this problem in the scale-up synthesis saved that customer millions of dollars. SCORE!!  So it seems it really is important for a chromatographer to learn mass spectrometry. What are the main reasons a chromatographer should add the ISQ EC single quadrupole mass spectrometer to their lab? The ISQ EC single quadrupole mass spectrometer was specifically designed for the chromatographer to be a “single quad detector.” It provides sensitivity and selectivity you can’t get with a DAD or more traditional detectors. It’s the perfect instrument for impurity profiling and synthesis profiling. The ISQ EC single quadrupole mass spectrometer’s source design ensures robustness and reliability which every chromatographer demands. Most importantly it runs off of Thermo Scientific™ Chromeleon™ Chromatography Data System software so a user doesn’t have to learn new complicated software.

If you’re new to mass spectrometry there are great resources out there like the mass spectrometry learning center that can help you understand the theory and background of mass spectrometry.