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, so it 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.

Sections of a spectrometer - ionization, separation, detection

Our approach to mass spectrometry

A wide lineup of detectors

Detectors for mass spectrometry

We provide a wide variety of detection devices such as MCP (microchannel plate), EM (electron multiplier) and PMT (photomultiplier tube), so we 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 before by combining our experience in developing mass spectrometry devices along with diverse cutting-edge technologies related to semiconductor manufacturing, laser development, and material research.

Custom devices

Hamamatsu factory

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 about customized devices.

Future prospects

Mass spectrometry for quality control of food, medicine and water

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.

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
MCP F9890, F9892
  ×       Wide effective area,
High-speed response
  ×       Compact,
Wide effective area
  ×       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.

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.

Contact us for more information.

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