Why use signal-to-noise as a measure of MS performance when it is often meaningless?

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  • Date: Jul 20, 2011 - 15:00 - 16:00 (local time)
  • Categories: Gas Chromatography / Base Peak
thumbnail image: Why use signal-to-noise as a measure of MS performance when it is often meaningless?

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Why use signal-to-noise as a measure of MS performance when it is often meaningless?

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In the past, the signal-to-noise of a chromatographic peak determined from a single measurement has served as a convenient figure of merit used to compare the performance of two different MS systems. The evolution in the design of mass spectrometry instrumentation has resulted in very low noise systems that have made the comparison of performance based upon signal-to-noise increasingly difficult, and in some modes of operation impossible. This is especially true when using ultra-low noise modes such as high resolution mass spectrometry or tandem MS; where there is often no ions in the background and the noise is essentially zero. This occurs when analyzing clean standards used to establish the instrument specifications. Statistical methodology that is commonly used to establish method detection limits for trace analysis in complex matrices is a means of characterizing instrument performance that is rigorously valid for both high and low background noise conditions. Instrument manufacturers should start to provide customers an alternative performance metric in the form of instrument detection limits based on relative the standard deviation of replicate injections to allow analysts a practical means of evaluating an MS system.

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Your Speaker

Greg Wells
Greg Wells
Product Manager GC Triple Quadrupole MS
Agilent Technologies Chemical Analysis Group
t Manager
Agilent Technologies
Greg Wells: Biography

Dr Greg Wells is currently the Product Manager for the Agilent GC Triple Quadrupole Product. He has a PhD. and MBA and was formerly the MS R&D and MS Marketing Manager for Varian Inc. He has fifty patents in the areas of emission spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and GC detectors.

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