Mass spectrometry Mass spectrometry

Mass spectrometry

Mass Spectrometry is a widely used analytical technique that identifies and quantifies a substance. By ionising the atoms and molecules of a substance and measuring its mass number and number of ions, its mass-to-charge ratio can be calculated. Compared to other analytical techniques, this allows for a great deal of information to be collected from a single analysis. This technique is now commonly used in wide variety fields from Pharmaceutical to Manufacturing.


Hamamatsu is a market leader in the manufacture and development of detection solutions for mass spectrometry. Our photonic technologies are implemented globally across a diverse range of instruments providing users with superior detection capabilities.

What does a mass spectrometer consist of?


Generally, each Mass Spectrometer consists of three sections: Ionization, Ion Separation, and Detection. Mass spectrometers are grouped into various types according to the distinct ionization and separation methods used.


Hamamatsu have developed a wide range of products for both the Ionization and Detection areas of Mass Spectrometry. The distinct technical features and performance required from these devices differ according to the type of the mass spectrometer in use. These include low-fragmentation light sources for photoionization, high specification ion detectors, as well as measurement support tools for users.

Our approach to mass spectrometry

A wide lineup of detectors

We provide a wide variety of detection devices such as MCP, EMT and PMT, and so we can propose optimal devices from a broad range of options that best match your equipment.
By combining our deep experience in developing mass spectrometry devices along with diverse cutting-edge technologies relating to semiconductor manufacturing, laser development, and material research, we have developed a new range of detectors offering the most effective and precise analysis for any mass spectrometry technique providing users with the ultimate photonic solution.

Custom devices 

Mass spectrometry devices require characteristics and shapes that differ greatly depending on the type of equipment.

To meet specifications not covered by standard products, Hamamatsu actively works with OEMs and customers to develop and design custom devices ensuring all of our products provide the most efficient and accurate results.





Future prospects

Mass spectrometers are now being used in a broad range of fields such as quality control for food, medicine and water, assessment of hazardous substances, and medical diagnostics. This has led to increased demands for diversity in terms of size, performance, and cost.

To spur the growth of the mass spectrometry market we are continually developing key devices with characteristics optimized for individual applications. We are keen to work with you on any unique solution or application.

Quick reference guide for major detectors

Detector type Mass spectrometers Detector features
Q-MS TOF-MS magnetic sector type MS Ion trap-MS ICP-MS
Electron multipliers R4146-10 ×   × ×   Thin profile
R6985-80 ×     ×   Positive/negative ion detection, internal conversion dynode
R8811 ×     ×   Compact, Baking
R8810 ×     ×   Compact, Low vacuum operation, Baking
R13733 ×       × Wide dynamic range
R2362 ×   × ×   Wide effective area, Baking
R14747 ×   × ×   Compact, Low vacuum operation, Robustness
MCP F9890, F9892 series   ×       Wide effective area, High-speed response
F12334 series   ×       Compact, Wide effective area
MIGHTION F14845-11   ×       Wide effective area, High-speed response, Wide dynamic range
F14844 ×     ×   Compact, Low vacuum operation, Detection of explosive materials

Recommended products

Electron multipliers are mainly used as positive/negative ion detectors. They have high gain (electron multiplication factor) and low dark current, so they can be used to measure even extremely minimal amounts of ions in counting mode.

Microchannel plates or MCPs are two-dimensional sensors that detect electrons, ions, vacuum UV light, X-rays, and gamma rays by converting them into secondary electrons and multiplying those electrons. MCPs offer features such as high-speed response and are used as ion detectors for TOF (time-of-flight) mass spectrometry. We provide a wide variety of types including easy-to-use MCP assemblies.

These are phosphor plates that convert electrons into visible light of wavelengths around 410 nm and are used in the detection section of mass spectrometers in combination with photodetectors such as photomultiplier tubes. Fast decay phosphors have a short afterglow time causing no pileups that undercount photons, and thus help provide good count rate linearity.

DIUTHAME is a measurement support tool developed for the users of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometers. DIUTHAME is designed to promote ionization in mass spectrometry in place of the matrix that is commonly used for conventional MALDI (Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization) and to eliminate cumbersome sample pretreatment. DIUTHAME brings high reproducibility and ease-of-handling to mass spectrometry by serving as a completely new tool that can readily be used by all MALDI mass spectrometer users.

Photoionization by a deuterium lamp allows so-called “soft ionization” compared to other photoionization techniques using a laser, etc. Deuterium lamps capable of emitting high energy light at 10.78 eV ensure efficient photoionization that is higher than that from other lamp light sources such as PID (photoionization detector) lamps.

We also offer high voltage power supplies capable of providing a high voltage output up to 10 kV. These power supplies feature high stability that we have achieved through design and development of high voltage power supplies for photomultiplier tube operation. Power supplies with customized specifications will also become available.

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