Mass spectrometry Mass spectrometry

Mass spectrometry

Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that identifies and quantifies a substance by ionizing the atoms and molecules of the substance and measuring the mass number and number of ions. Compared to other analytical techniques, mass spectrometry gives a great deal of information in a single analysis and so can be applied to various fields including proteomics for studying proteins.

We offer a wide range of devices such as ion detectors that are indispensable for mass spectrometers.

What does a mass spectrometer consist of?

A mass spectrometer mainly consists of an ionization section, an ion separation section, and a detection section. Mass spectrometers are grouped into various types according to the ionization and separation methods. The features required for devices in a mass spectrometer differ according to the type of the mass spectrometer.
We have developed and produced a wide range of products related to mass spectrometry, such as ion detectors that are key devices for the detection section, light sources for photoionization, and measurement support tools for users.


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Mass spectrometry — where our devices play an active role!

(Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry)

TOF-MS (Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry) separates ions as they travel through an accelerating electric field and measures the difference in their time-of-flight according to the mass-to-charge ratio of each ion. Since slight differences in the time-of-flight must be found with extreme accuracy, the detectors for TOF-MS must have very fast response and low time jitter.


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 (Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry)

As the method for ion separation, Q-MS (Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry) utilizes a quadrupole that consists of four parallel electrodes (two pairs of two metal rods). Only the ions that satisfy the resonance conditions are selected (filtered) by a high-frequency voltage supplied to the four electrodes.



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  • Detection of bipolar ions
  • Wide dynamic range

(Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry)

ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry) uses plasma as an ion source. This is a highly sensitive method that allows qualitative and quantitative analysis of trace elements contained in samples at the ppt (parts per trillion) level.




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  • Wide dynamic range

Mass Spectrometry Topics

Detectors ideal for portable mass spectrometers

Expanding the applications of mass spectrometry to the field of security such as in detecting explosive substances at airports

We offer ion detectors capable of operating in low-vacuum environments where accurate detection of ions has been difficult. These ion detectors are designed to achieve features and characteristics optimized for portable mass spectrometers that extend their applications to the field of security such as luggage inspections at airports.


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Pretreatment tools for MALDI TOF-MS

Providing support tools to simplify the cumbersome sample treatment process

We also offer support tools for MALDI TOF-MS measurements that don’t require a matrix. These pretreatment tools exhibit especially high performance in imaging mass spectrometry in the small molecule range.





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High-voltage power supplies ideal for ion detectors

Regulated high-voltage power supplies providing both positive and negative polarity outputs from just a single unit

We also provide high-performance power supplies for operating mass spectrometer ion detectors. We do this by equipment designs that achieve highly stable operation through technology fostered over many years of manufacturing power supplies for photomultiplier tube operation. We also make every effort to accommodate user customizing requests.


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Light sources for soft ionization

Highly stable deuterium lamps

These deuterium lamps emit light with high energy of 10.78 eV and enable “soft ionization” with minimal fragmentation compared to EI (electron ionization).







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Our approach to mass spectrometry

Our devices offer features including:

A wide lineup of detectors

We provide a wide variety of detection devices such as MCP, EM and PMT, and so can propose optimal devices from a broad range of options that best match your equipment. We have also developed unique devices with features never seen up to now 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.


Custom devices available

Mass spectrometry devices require characteristics and shapes that differ greatly depending on the type of equipment. To meet specifications not covered by standard products, we are also actively working on developing custom devices to meet customer needs.
Hamamatsu sales offices are located around the world to provide quick and convenient customer support. Please feel free to contact us.




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.




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