As a new homeowner I’m quickly becoming accustomed to the laundry list of To Dos around the house. While drywall and electrical work are new territory for me, there are so many parallels between home ownership and life in the lab.
What have been the two most important lessons I learned in the lab that apply to owning a home?
- Little tasks (like fixing the drywall) that you think will take one hour almost certainly will take two hours – wait, make that three hours…
I’m pretty sure we can all relate to this – who hasn’t underestimated the amount of time it would take to set up their instrument or experiment? When I was first learning to set up my homemade capillary columns for peptide analysis I would easily spend an hour optimizing the flow rate and finding the perfect position of my emitter tip relative to the mass spectrometer source.
- If you can simplify your task and complete the project faster without sacrificing quality – do it.
Have you ever used an air gun to nail things together? Well if you have, you’ll know that using that tool is effective, quicker, and leaves less visible holes than your traditional hammer and nail.
In graduate school, I figured I could simplify my life and get my experiments up and going faster if I made a column holder to reproducibly align my column to the mass spectrometer source (several variations of holders were made, starting with my not-so-impressive vial cap taped to the stage with an assortment of brightly colored lab tapes to hold it in place, to my final iteration of a somewhat elegantly milled piece of plastic grooved to hold my capillary column based on its outer diameter).
Understanding and planning the proper amount of time for your house project or lab experiment is critical for the quality of the work. If you try to squeeze one hour worth of work into 30 minutes, the chances are you’ll cut corners and the final result will suffer – this is especially true when running complicated experiments like nano-flow LC-MS.
The thing about nano-flow LC-MS is that it can be tricky. To get excellent results you need perfect connections between nano-bore tubing and efficient spray ionization. Often, nano-flow chromatographic results suffer due to error-prone and difficult connections that introduce extra column volume, contributing to dispersion and poor chromatographic results run-to-run.
So how do you get one hour of work done in 30 minutes without sacrificing quality? You need to find ways to become more efficient and simplify your workflow.
Like what you are learning?
Luckily the Thermo Scientific™ EASY-Spray™ column makes nano- and capillary-flow LC-MS applications easy with simple installation for perfect connections every time.
EASY-Spray simplifies complex workflows
- Integrated zero dead volume column to emitter union delivers narrower peaks and maximized peak capacity.
- Easy-to-use Thermo Scientific nanoViper fingertight fitting for a leak-free connect up to 1200 bar, eliminating column damage due to overtightening and dead volume.
- Column with integrated temperature control immediately before the MS inlet increases run-to-run reproducibility and allows even longer columns and/or smaller particle sizes since elevated temperatures lower eluent viscosity and reduces the overall backpressure.
- Exceptionally stable spray from a quality controlled and polished fused silica emitter with a uniform inner diameter of 7 µm in nano-flow and 20 µm in capillary-flow columns.
- Dependable performance with outstanding column-to-column reproducibility for maximum reliability
The best part of EASY-Spray is its simplicity – just plug-and-spray.
To make your lab life a bit easier, make sure to check out our tips and tricks guide and new EASY-Spray LC column optimization and troubleshooting guide and learn more about our EASY-Spray columns that combine throughput and sensitivity with maximum simplicity at www.thermofisher.com/easyspray.
Now that you have a way to save time in the lab, what will you do with your free time? Finally tackle patching the hole in the dry wall in the hallway?