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Electrospray (nanoSpray) Ion Source in LTQ-FTICR mass spectrometer

Applied Biosystems - QSTAR® XL Hybrid LC/MS/MS System

The QSTAR® XL Hybrid LC/MS/MS System is a high-performance, hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer designed for proteomics, drug discovery, metabolomics, and drug development.

Groundbreaking Technologies

As the highest-sensitivity hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer, the QSTAR® XL LC/MS/MS System enables you to determine unequivocally the molecular weight and high-quality structural information of drug metabolites, as well as the type and location of post-translational modifications (PTMs). Our unique pulse/trapping capabilities, patented Q0 collisional focusing, and LINAC® collision cell technology enable you to get sensitive and superior MS and MS/MS scans with a maximum duty cycle.

A Powerful Combination

Together with our Analyst® QS software, the QSTAR® XL system offers a full complement of features to simplify every aspect of methods development, data acquisition, and processing, including flexible control of popular LC platforms. The system design enables you to exchange ionization sources easily to accommodate a wide range of applications and flow rates. Finally, to obtain more useful information per sample, you can pull it all together with advanced application software, including Metabolite ID, BioAnalyst™, Pro ID, Pro BLAST, Pro ICAT, Pro QUANT, oMALDI™ Xpert, and MALDI Imaging.

Accurate Mass for Metabolite Identification

The QSTAR® XL system provides the detailed accurate mass information you need in drug discovery and development to analyze the elemental composition of unknown drug metabolites. With accurate MS/MS-spectra-based mass assignments and structural information, you can confidently identify and fully characterize impurities as well as known and unknown metabolites. Further, you can take advantage of the LC MALDI workflow to re-analyze your complex metabolite samples to uncover even more information.

The Solution for Challenging Protein Analysis

The QSTAR® XL system is the best solution for challenging proteomics and protein analysis experiments such as de novo sequencing, intact protein analysis, PTMs, and relative quantitation. Together with our tagging chemistries, electrospray and MALDI ion sources, and applications software, this tandem MS system offers the sensitivity, robustness, and versatility you need to solve your protein problems.


Mass Accuracy 5 ppm
Mass Range m/z 5-40,000

Electro Spray Ionization

LC-ESI-MS provides molecular information of the species and their fragmentation patterns and thus allows to identify very often even unknown species.

Speciation analysis is targeting at the detection of unknown elemental species, their identification and/or structural elucidation followed by their quantification. For quantification with respect to the target element, ICP-MS is the perfect tool, providing both unmatched sensitivity and compound independent response. Since the plasma source (often also called atomizer) is destroying all molecular information, species characterization is limited to the retention time provided by the chromatography coupled to the ICP. However species identification by the retention time requires compound standards and is not applicable for unknown species. This gap can be filled by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS).

In electrospray, a liquid is passing through a nozzle. The plume of droplets is generated by electrically charging the liquid to a very high voltage. The charged liquid in the nozzle becomes unstable as it is forced to hold more and more charge. Soon the liquid reaches a critical point, at which it can hold no more electrical charge and at the tip of the nozzle it blows apart into a cloud of tiny, highly charged droplets.

Exciting potential opportunities are offered by ESI-MS for a soft ionization of metal-containing species and by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) for a precise determination of molecular weight and structural characterization of molecules at trace levels in complex matrices.

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Last Updated: 11/18/19