17 February 2021

The Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis is pleased to announce the installation of the JEOL Spiral TOF mass spectrometer, which was funded though the former RFIG program at The University of Queensland. The instrument comes with a full suite of analysis software for polymer samples, and integrates into existing Mass Spectrometry Imaging software already in use at CMM.

The Spiral TOF is a Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption ionisation Time-of-Flight/Time-of-Flight (MALDI-TOF/TOF) mass spectrometer. Key application areas for this exciting new instrument will be the measurement of polymer samples, lipids, metabolites, peptides, and proteins.
The instrument is capable of bulk analysis, and Mass Spectrometry Imaging analysis – allowing the co-localisation of specific molecules with the structure of biological tissue samples mounted on a microscope slide.

The key ability of this instrument when compared to other MALDI-TOF instruments is that it has mass resolution specifications of 75,000. The other significant improvement is the ability to isolate precursor masses to 1 Da – a significant improvement over other MALDI-TOF instruments, allowing the production of higher quality MSMS spectra. The Spiral TOF has a unique multi-turning time of flight path – a spiral path which provides 17 m of flight path and allows for the very high mass resolution to be achieved. Spiral mode allows regular measurement of compounds of at least 10,000 m/z, perhaps even larger, at high mass resolution and high mass accuracy. 

JEOL Spiral Analyser animation

Example Mass Spectrometry Imaging acquired at 30 μm pixel size from a Funnel web spider venom gland in Spiral mode. These images show the spatial distribution of venom peptides with in the gland of the spider. The acquired masses are shown with excellent mass resolution off-tissue.

Another example measured on our recently installed instrument is an accurate mass for a compound synthesised by a Manikandan Koodalingam (Prof. Paul Burn Group). The compound is a phenyltriazole based homoleptic iridium (III) complex-cored dendrimer possessing first-generation twisted rigid doubly dendronized (two dendrons on one ligand) biphenyl-based dendron with a tert-butyl surface group. It is a blue emissive phosphorescence dendrimer used for Organic Light emitting Diodes (OLEDs).

The acquisition performed on the Spiral TOF achieved a mass resolving power of 132000, when operated at threshold laser conditions, far exceeding the JEOL installation specifications. While this will not be the case for every sample, indications are that the Spiral is exceeding expectations in terms of mass resolving power of the Spiral mass analyser. 

We have also demonstrated near baseline isotopic resolution of 10K PEG, which allows researchers to measure larger polymers at high mass resolution and mass accuracy than was possible using reflectron TOF instruments. Below shows the whole spectrum for 10PEG, and also a zoomed in spectrum to show the baseline isotopic resolution achievable for polymers at 10,000 m/z using the Spiral TOF MALDI instrument.

The Spiral TOF is now available for use at the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, in the same openly accessible manner as other existing infrastructure within CMM. Once trained, users can book and use the instrument at the Hawken Lab (Bld 50).

Location: Hawken Building #50 (Room L104)

Contact: Brett Hamilton: