LaserMat MALDI mass spectrometer


Mass spectrometer, LaserMat MALDI mass spectrometer, made by Finnigan Instruments, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England, 1990.

In the late 1980s a new kind of mass spectrometer, one of the most important instruments in analytical chemistry, was developed that would pave the way for the spectroscopic analysis of large biological molecules.

The LaserMat made by the British scientific instrument makers Finnagan was the first table-top commercial example of these mass spectrometers. One of the motivations for its development was that existing mass spectrometer technology involved a radioactive source. The new technology LaserMat employed, known as MALDI (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization), did not have any radioactive risks and so could be operated by pregnant women. One of the best-known applications of MALDI mass spectrometry is DNA fingerprinting, but its influence in chemistry has been transformative.


Experimental Chemistry
Object Number:
metal and plastic
mass spectrometer
University of Oxford, Department of Biochemistry

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