Mass Spectrometry has evolved into an indispensable tool in the field of proteomics and applied extensively for the comprehensive characterization of biological samples.
The objective of the proposed project is to develop new techniques for the coordinated dissociation of gas phase ions, extending the complete characterization of proteins currently limited to 25-30kDa. Of specific interest is the development of radical reactions in the gas phase based on hydrogen atom bombardment. The project is concerned with the development of a hydrogen atom gun based on a low-pressure plasma source capable of generating a highly density flux of activated hydrogen atoms directed into the storage region of a novel RF linear ion trap, termed the OmnitrapTM platform. Extensive experimental tests for evaluating the performance of the new version of the omnitrap platform developed for the purposes of this project have been performed. New routines are developed for integrating the hyperthermal gun, particularly in combination with electron ionization and electron capture dissociation.
A first design of the plasma source has been completed and a prototype test rig has been constructed and is currently under further development. Plasma diagnostics tools are applied for the characterization of both continuous and pulsed operation of the hydrogen plasma source, including a quadrupole mass filter to measure product species generated in the plasma and stopping potential experiments to characterize the kinetic energy spread of the ions. The hyperthermal hydrogen gun is expected to further extend the ability of the omnitrap platform to perform unique tandem MSn experiments.