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Cover Story

April 3, 2006
Volume 84, Number 14
pp. 62-67

New & Notable At Pittcon 2006

Instrumentation and More

Pittcon Editors' Award Winners

Thermo Electron showed its LTQ Orbitrap hybrid mass spectrometer, which took home the Pittcon Editors' Gold Award. Unveiled in June 2005, the LTQ Orbitrap is touted as "the first new mass analyzer to be introduced to the market in over 20 years." The instrument, pictured on page 46, uses the Orbitrap, a type of Fourier transform mass analyzer that radially traps ions around a central spindle electrode, as the detector for ions produced in the Finnigan LTQ linear ion trap mass spectrometer. The combined instruments, linked by an intermediate storage trap, provide for fast, sensitive, and reliable mass spectrometric and tandem MS analysis of compounds in complex mixtures for small-molecule research, drug discovery, and proteomics and metabolomics applications.

Chata Biosystems launched the Chem+Mix Automated Solution Preparation System, which won the Pittcon Editors' Silver Award. The computer-controlled system fully automates accurate mixing and pH adjustment of 200-mL to 2-L volumes of solutions made from up to six different starting components. The Chem+Mix system is compatible with Chata's Chem+Nect prepackaged reagents and is designed to make HPLC mobile phases, buffers, blended organic solvents, and aqueous solutions. Metrohm-Peak, in partnership with Chata, also introduced the Metrohm 845 Eluent Synthesizer for ion chromatography, which uses the Chem+Mix technology.,

Cerno Bioscience debuted its MassWorks postacquisition software that improves the signal-to-noise ratio, peak shape, and mass accuracy of data for any mass spectrometer. MassWorks, which received the Pittcon Editors' Bronze Award, uses novel MSIntegrity mathematical calibration technology to provide up to 100-times improvement in mass accuracy for low-resolution instruments and three-times or greater improvement for high-resolution instruments. Targeted for pharmaceutical and biotech research, the software lowers detection limits, reduces the need for constant instrument retuning, and reduces the need to repeat experiments on higher resolution instruments. www.cer


Agilent Technologies displayed the 1200 Series LC system, which the company bills as "the world's fastest and most comprehensive liquid chromatograph." The 1200 Series, part of Agilent's largest ever new product introduction, consists of more than 60 modules that can be configured for nanoliter to prep-scale volumes with more than 900 available columns, as well as for Agilent's HPLC microfluidic chips. A rapid-resolution configuration is capable of handling more than 2,000 samples per day. The 1200 Series updates and is compatible with the popular 1100 LC Series, which was introduced in 1995.

Polymer Laboratories, purchased last November by Varian, introduced the PL-GPC 50 Plus, an integrated gel-permeation chromatography/size-exclusion chromatography system for polymer molecular weight characterization. The system has been enhanced with a new refractive index detector that features a low-dispersion 8-mL cell and new optics to provide a fivefold increase in signal-to-noise performance. The system has a selectable flow rate of 0-10 mL per minute; selectable 670-nm or standard 880-nm light sources; and optional viscosity, UV, and light-scattering detection. It also can be interfaced with an FTIR spectrometer.

Konik showed its HPLC+HRGC K2 multidimensional system, a tandem chromatograph made possible by the company's patented Through Oven Transfer Adsorption Desorption (TOTAD) interface device. TOTAD is a programmed temperature vaporizer with a sorbent packing material that selectively eliminates the HPLC solvent from analytes of interest and allows transfer of the analytes to the inlet of the high-resolution GC. The K2 system is capable of analyzing pesticides, drugs, food and beverages, urine, blood, and more.

Dionex wrapped up the launch of its UltiMate 3000 Intelligent LC series by introducing the UltiMate 3000 Micro single and dual LC systems. The company introduced its nanoflow and capillary-flow UltiMate systems at Pittcon 2005. The single micro systems are optimized for flow rates of 10 ??L per minute to several milliliters per minute for LC or LC-MS applications. The dual systems are capable of nanoflow and higher flow rates either for parallel LC with two detectors or tandem LC with a single detector; an off-line column regeneration feature allows for faster sample throughput.

X-ray analysis

Bruker AXS introduced the S8 Tiger X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer for elemental analysis. The instrument is designed for process and quality control use and as an elemental analysis tool for R&D applications in the petrochemical, cement, and mining industries. The S8 Tiger complements the existing S4 and S2 XRF instruments and can analyze all elements from beryllium to uranium. TouchControl and SampleCare features provide touch screen control for easy use with minimal training and "fail-safe operation."

PANalytical displayed the X'Pert PRO MPD X-ray diffractometer along with an extended range of options that make it "the total solution for high-throughput X-ray diffraction." The X'Pert PRO, equipped with automated sample changer and high-speed, high-resolution X'Celerator detector, can process hundreds of full scans per day for R&D and industrial process control. The new XYZ stage, part of the company's interchangeable PreFIX stages, allows flexibility for both reflection and transmission diffraction using well plates. A new PreFIX focusing mirror allows transmission diffraction experiments on macromolecules, such as proteins, providing a lab-based X-ray system in lieu of a synchrotron beam line or single-crystal diffractometer.

Hybrid instrumentation

Bruker Optics presented the RamanScopeIII microscope, a hybrid system that couples Bruker Optics' Senterra dispersive Raman instrument with its Fourier transform Raman systems, such as the Ram II. The RamanScopeIII is the first commercial instrument that can accommodate the two techniques on the same microscope platform, which aids sample handling. The system is designed for dispersive Raman to acquire sensitive spectra and for FT-Raman to provide better wavelength accuracy and lower fluorescence interference. It's geared toward forensics, pharmaceuticals, polymer science, and routine microanalysis.

Horiba Jobin Yvon introduced a new series of LabRam Raman microscopes that can be linked with a coupling device to an atomic force microscope (AFM). The first instrument in the line, the LabRAM-HR Nano, allows topographical information to be coordinated with chemical analysis data and allows exploration of the new technique of tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS). The system is being used to study semiconductors and other materials with a spatial resolution down to 100 nm. The second system in the series, the LabRAM-INV Nano, has an inverted Raman microscope that's suited for studying transparent biological samples, such as single cells and biopolymers.

NanoTech-America and Russia-based Nanotechnology & Molecular Device Technology (NT-MDT) presented the NTegra line of scanning probe microscopes/spectrometers. These instruments combine atomic force microscopy with a range of spectroscopy methods to characterize surface properties in materials science and carry out high-throughput analysis of polymers and biological samples. The top-of-the-line instrument, the NTegra Spectra, is called the "ultimate nanolaboratory" for its atomic force microscope capability combined with conventional optical, fluorescence, and laser scanning confocal microscopes as well as a Raman/fluorescence spectrometer.

Bruker AXS and Bruker Optics launched the D8 Screenlab system that couples the D8 Discover 2-D X-ray diffraction instrument, a Raman spectrometer, and a video microscope for crystal-structure and chemical-composition analysis in materials research. The integrated system allows for nondestructive high-throughput screening of advanced materials and catalysts and monitoring of active pharmaceutical ingredient polymorphs.,

Mass spectrometry

Waters presented the Acquity SQD, an LC-MS instrument that couples the company's Acquity ultraperformance LC system, introduced at Pittcon 2004, with the new compact benchtop SQ single-quadrupole mass detector. The SQ detector allows ionization switching for atmospheric pressure chemical ionization and electrospray ionization in the same run, and it has a mass range to 2,000 daltons. The Acquity SQD provides more information about the identity of pharmaceutical, biological, industrial, and environmental compounds than conventional UV-Vis detector systems, according to the company.

Microsaic Systems introduced its "Ionchip" mass spectrometry technology and displayed the first commercial chip-based quadrupole mass spectrometers. The ChemCube is a compact GC-compatible MS unit for lab use, and the ChemPack is a battery-powered, hand-portable unit for field use. Both instruments have a mass range to 400 daltons at 1-Da resolution and 1-ng sensitivity, with sample introduction via syringe or membrane inlet. They are intended for trace-analysis fingerprinting of solid, liquid, or gas samples using standard reference libraries for personal monitoring and security operations.

Varian introduced the 500-MS LC Ion Trap, a new LC-MS quadrupole spectrometer with features that enable enhanced analysis of thermally labile pharmaceuticals, drug metabolites, pesticides, and herbicides. The SelecTemp feature provides electronic control over atmospheric pressure ionization, which delivers the optimum amount of drying gas during gradient LC separations to improve signal-to-noise ratios. The Enhanced Charge Capacity feature extends the number of ions that can be simultaneously analyzed to give better sensitivity.

Nuclear magnetic resonance

Bruker Biospin announced the 800-MHz UltraShield Plus compact NMR magnet geared for structural biology research. The 54-mm standard bore magnet's relatively small size allows it to be housed in a single-story lab, rather than a dedicated two-story facility required by traditional 800-MHz instruments, thereby allowing increased siting flexibility and reduced site-preparation costs. The 800 US Plus uses Bruker's active-shielding technology, which provides a fourfold reduction in stray magnetic fields over other shielded 800-MHz magnets.

Oxford Instruments launched the MQC line of compact, easy-to-use benchtop NMR instruments. Available in 2-, 5-, and 23-MHz proton models and a 19F model, the MQC is optimized for fat, moisture, and fluorine quality-control measurements in the agricultural and food industries, as well as for low-cost academic training. The MQC's built-in control and data-processing hardware and magnet design give it the smallest benchtop footprint on the market while offering a large sample capacity.

Inductively coupled plasma instrumentation

GBC Scientific Equipment presented the OptiMass 9500 inductively coupled plasma time-of-flight spectrometer for high-throughput elemental analysis of reference materials and forensic samples. The 9500 is an upgrade for the award-winning OptiMass 8000, which was introduced in 2002. Both instruments collect data over the entire mass range (to 260 daltons) in 30 milliseconds, which is about five times faster than other MS scanning methods. The 9500 provides easier operation and better reliability than the 8000, and it has improved software that allows sample fingerprinting by overlaying spectra from different samples for statistical comparison.

Shimadzu unveiled the ICPE-9000, an ICP emission spectrometer that utilizes a vacuum spectrometer with semiconductor detectors, the first of its kind in ICP emission spectrometers. This design reduces contamination and decline in sensitivity over time and reduces operating costs by eliminating the need for internal gas purging. A charge-coupled device detector with increased pixel size, Echelle (photon counting) spectrometer, and the vacuum spectrometer allow for high-speed measurements with increased resolution for quantitative analysis of metals, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and drinking water. In addition, a "minitorch" design cuts argon plasma gas consumption in half compared with conventional torches.

Thermo Electron displayed the iCAP 6300 and iCAP 6500, the most sensitive and compact ICP emission spectrometers available. The iCAP spectrometers have full 166- to 847-nm coverage across a charge-injection device detector, and the compact size and distributed purge system help reduce gas flows in the instruments to reduce costs and improve performance. The 6300 model is designed for routine batch-to-batch analysis, and the 6500 model, with automated set-up and optimization and an "intelligent operation" mode, is designed for research applications. The iCAP 6000 series is geared toward elemental analysis for environmental, petrochemical, mining, and food and beverage applications.

Spectro presented the Spectro Genesis SOP (side-on plasma) ICP emission spectrometer with charge-coupled device detector (175-777 nm) for simultaneous detection of more than 70 elements. The instrument is the first ICP emission spectrometer that comes with a set of factory-calibrated methods for environmental and industrial applications. It will serve as a good alternative to flame atomic absorption for monitoring wastewater, metal particles and additives in oils, and soils and sludge in agriculture, according to the company.

Process R&D instrumentation

Ometric debuted the SpectraInline Processware system that uses patented Multivariate Optical Computing (MOC) technology for real-time transmission, reflection, or emission spectroscopy of industrial processes or final product testing. The Ometric system includes an application-specific MOC unit that is integrated as part of a production line. The unit uses typical optical spectroscopy light sources and semiconductor or pyroelectric detectors and operates from the UV to IR spectral regions. Applications include drug tablet analysis, blending of powders, raw materials analysis, and liquids analysis, which were demonstrated at Pittcon. Ometric is licensing the system for a flat fee that covers use of hardware and full customer support.

PerkinElmer showed the TurboMatrix 650 ATD thermal desorber as a new member of the TurboMatrix line of desorbers that trap and concentrate volatile organic compounds for occupational health and safety monitoring and other applications. The instrument has programmable pneumatic control and automated sample-tube handling for unattended analysis of up to 50 samples. The output of the TurboMatrix 650 can be introduced by an interface to nearly any GC system, and at Pittcon, PerkinElmer presented a line of new Ozone Precursor Analyzer systems (one shown) for remote environmental air monitoring that combines the TurboMatrix desorbers with the company's Clarus 500 multidimensional gas chromatograph.

GE Analytical Instruments (formerly Ionics Instruments) introduced the Sievers 500 RL On-Line Total Organic Carbon Analyzer. The low-maintenance 500 RL is designed for continuous online monitoring of organics in ultrapure water for pharmaceutical, microelectronics, and electric power plant compliance applications. The instrument uses UV light to oxidize organics to carbon dioxide and then uses the patented Sievers membrane conductometric method to measure total organic carbon content with a detection limit of 0.03 ppb.

Optical spectroscopy

Jasco presented the J-815 chiro-optical spectrometer, the latest in the company's J series of spectropolarimeters for measuring circular dichroism. The compact benchtop instrument, with a standard detection range of 163-900 nm, has the highest signal-to-noise ratio in this class of instruments. The J-815 is available with automated titration, stopped-flow, and precise-temperature-control accessories that enable a range of complementary measurement modes and hyphenated techniques, including simultaneous absorbance and fluorescence, to evaluate thermal denaturation of enzymes and circular dichroism detection of protein unfolding and refolding. www.jasco

Ocean Optics and Newport each displayed new instruments based on Centice Multimodal Multiplex Spectroscopy (MMS) technology, which was introduced at Pittcon 2005. Centice's technology utilizes a wide-area aperture with an encoded mask, instead of a conventional pinhole or thin slit, along with a charge-coupled device detector for better signal-to-noise performance in optical spectroscopy. Ocean Optics' MMS Raman spectrometer is useful for weak, diffuse light signals and covers the 220- to 2,000-cm???1 spectral range with 4-cm???1 resolution. Newport's MMS UV-Vis spectrometer is capable of measuring very weak signals in the 190- to 500-nm spectral range with 0.6-nm resolution.,,

Mesophotonics unveiled the "first all-in-one surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) tool kit" for analyzing materials at subpicogram levels. SERS has quickly become a popular technique for trace-level analysis in medical diagnostics, forensics analysis, and homeland security. The tool kit includes the compact SE1000 spectrometer with built-in video imaging, Mesophotonics' unique Klarite sample substrates, and data-handling software. The Klarite substrates feature a systematically nanostructured silicon surface coated with gold that forms photonic crystals to enhance the Raman signal of materials close to the substrate surface.

Headwall Photonics launched the Hyperspec family of integrated visible and infrared (400-2,500 nm) spectral imaging and chemical sensing systems that employ the company's holographic diffraction gratings that minimize stray light to achieve high signal-to-noise performance. Formerly a unit of Agilent Technologies, Headwall is using the Hyperspec systems to expand from the military-defense market to supply spectrometers to instrument makers with life sciences, pharmaceutical, and industrial process applications. Separately, Hamilton Sundstrand has selected Headwall's Raman Explorer for a new line of Raman process-monitoring instruments.

Pittcon Potpourri

Pfeiffer Vacuum presented the "first complete vacuum system for mobile analytical equipment" that allows for real-time environmental and security field measurements. The compact, low-power system includes the previously available TPH 071 (71 L per second) or TPD 011 (11 L per second) turbopumps combined with the new MVP 006 dry diaphragm backing pump. Key to the system is a "smart electronics" control package that allows the pumps to communicate and change speeds based on demand. Targeted for portable mass spectrometry, the system operates on a 24-V battery and can be configured to meet any instrument manufacturer requirements.

Wyatt Technology launched the improved DynaPro Titan Plate Reader for protein characterization. The automated device uses laser dynamic light scattering to analyze proteins in standard 96-, 384-, or 1,536-well plates, with less than 5 μL of recoverable sample needed per well in the 1,536-well plate. Improvements include the ability to identify the optimal buffer conditions for protein purification and concentration. The DynaPro Titan is geared toward bioprocessing and quality control of viral particles and vaccines, screening chemical compounds for small-molecule aggregation or potential inhibitors, and exploring antibody formulations.

Millipore unveiled the Milli-Q Advantage ultrapure water-treatment system with a unique movable "Q-Pod" unit that allows users to dispense water at up to three different locations within 10 feet of the main purification unit. Each Q-Pod provides the final purification step to meet user specifications and adjusts to any glassware height and shape. Flow rates can be adjusted from dropwise to 2 L per minute. System information is displayed graphically on the Q-Pod base.

Nomadics unveiled the Sens??Q, a quantitative surface plasmon resonance (SPR) lab instrument for kinetic and affinity analysis of biomolecules. The system is built around Texas Instruments' Spreeta biosensor, which combines microfluidics and custom surface-attachment chemistry with an SPR-based optical system to obtain refractive index data on molecular binding interactions. The Sens??Q makes the SPR technique available at a fraction of the cost of standard SPR instruments and allows for routine analysis in biodefense, medicine, agriculture, and food safety applications.

These product highlights were compiled and written by Steve Ritter.


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New & Notable At Pittcon 2006

Instrumentation and More

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