Skip to main content

Dynamic Range Expansion by Gas-Phase Ion Fractionation and Enrichment for Imaging Mass Spectrometry


Prentice BM , Ryan DJ , Grove KJ , Cornett DS , Caprioli RM , Spraggins JM , . Analytical chemistry. 2020 9 9; 92(19). 13092-13100


In the analysis of biological tissue by imaging mass spectrometry (IMS), the limit of detection and dynamic range are of paramount importance in obtaining experimental results that provide insight into underlying biological processes. Many important biomolecules are present in the tissue milieu in low concentrations and in complex mixtures with other compounds of widely ranging abundances, challenging the limits of analytical technologies. In many IMS experiments, the ion signal can be dominated by a few highly abundant ion species. On trap-based instrument platforms that accumulate ions prior to mass analysis, these high abundance ions can diminish the detection and dynamic range of lower abundance ions. Herein, we describe two strategies for combating these challenges during IMS experiments on a hybrid QhFT-ICR MS. In one iteration, the mass resolving capabilities of a quadrupole mass filter are used to selectively enrich ions of interest via a technique previously termed continuous accumulation of selected ions. Second, we have introduced a supplemental dipolar AC waveform to the quadrupole mass filter of a commercial QhFT-ICR mass spectrometer to perform selected ion ejection prior to the ion accumulation region. This setup allows the selective ejection of the most abundant ion species prior to ion accumulation, thereby greatly improving the molecular depth with which IMS can probe tissue samples. The gain in sensitivity of both of these approaches roughly scales with the number of accumulated laser shots up to the charge capacity of the ion accumulation cell. The efficiencies of these two strategies are described here by performing lipid imaging mass spectrometry analyses of a rat brain.