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Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry

Mass Spectrometry

  1. Scot R. Weinberger1,
  2. Stephen Davis2,
  3. Alexander Makarov2,
  4. Steve Thompson3,
  5. Randy Purves4,
  6. Randy M. Whittal5

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a6018

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Weinberger, S. R., Davis, S., Makarov, A., Thompson, S., Purves, R. and Whittal, R. M. 2006. Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Ciphergen Biosystems, Inc., Palo Alto, USA

  2. 2

    H D Technologies, Manchester, UK

  3. 3

    Scientific Analysis Instruments Ltd., Manchester, UK

  4. 4

    59-6247 Sundown Crescent, Gloucester, Canada

  5. 5

    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


This article reviews the developmental history, fundamental technology, and general applications of time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS). The fundamentals of instrument operation and components are discussed. Applications in terms of gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography (LC), capillary electrophoresis (CE), laser desorption, multiphoton desorption, plasma desorption (PD), matrix-assisted laser desorption, surface-enhanced laser desorption, inductively coupled plasma (ICP), and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) are presented. A review of tandem time-of-flight (TOF) techniques with a focus on ion trap TOF instrumentation is provided.

The purpose of this article is to provide the reader with a fundamental understanding of TOFMS principles and applications. Information is presented in a simple, straightforward, didactic fashion.