Laser beam filtration for high spatial resolution MALDI imaging mass spectrometry.
We describe an easy and inexpensive way to provide a highly defined Gaussian shaped laser spot on target of 5 μm diameter for imaging mass spectrometry using a commercial MALDI TOF instrument that is designed to produce a 20 μm diameter laser beam on target at its lowest setting. A 25 μm pinhole filter on a swivel arm was installed in the laser beam optics outside the vacuum ion source chamber so it is easily flipped into or out of the beam as desired by the operator. The resulting ion images at 5 μm spatial resolution are sharp since the satellite secondary laser beam maxima have been removed by the filter. Ion images are shown to demonstrate the performance and are compared with the method of oversampling to achieve higher spatial resolution when only a larger laser beam spot on target is available.