Adding a new separation dimension to MS and LC–MS: What is the utility of ion mobility spectrometry?

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Nov 23, 2017
  • Author: Valentina D'Atri, Tim Causon, Oscar Hernandez‐Alba, Aline Mutabazi, Jean‐Luc Veuthey, Sarah Cianferani, Davy Guillarme
  • Journal: Journal of Separation Science


Ion mobility spectrometry is an analytical technique known for more than 100 years, which entails separating ions in the gas phase based on their size, shape, and charge. While ion mobility spectrometry alone can be useful for some applications (mostly security analysis for detecting certain classes of narcotics and explosives), it becomes even more powerful in combination with mass spectrometry and high‐performance liquid chromatography. Indeed, the limited resolving power of ion mobility spectrometry alone can be tackled when combining this analytical strategy with mass spectrometry or liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry. Over the last few years, the hyphenation of ion mobility spectrometry to mass spectrometry or liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry has attracted more and more interest, with significant progresses in both technical advances and pioneering applications. This review describes the theoretical background, available technologies, and future capabilities of these techniques. It also highlights a wide range of applications, from small molecules (natural products, metabolites, glycans, lipids) to large biomolecules (proteins, protein complexes, biopharmaceuticals, oligonucleotides).

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