MS Imaging

Images from mass spec instrumentThe goal of the imaging facility is to both provide access to state of the art MS imaging facilities to the wider scientific community and to develop novel imaging capabilities.  The facility is focused around a 12T Solarix FT-ICR and Waters Synapt G2 IM Q-TOF.

  • Direct profiling of sections of tissues, spherioids and organoids
  • MALDI or Liquid Extraction Surface Analysis (LESA)
  • Spatial distribution of endogenous molecules, drugs and metabolites
  • Scils Lab 3D statistical analysis and construction of 3D images from consecutive 2D datasets.


The centrepiece of our facility is a Bruker Daltonics 12T SolariX Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometer (FT-ICR MS). This instrument, the first of its kind in the UK, is equipped with multiple ionisation sources and dissociation methods.

Bruker Mass Spec instrumentIonisation Methods

  • Electrospray ionization (ESI)
  • Nano electrospray ionisation (nESI)
  • Laser desorption/ionization (LDI)
  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI)
  • Atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI)
  • Atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI)
  • Liquid Extraction Surface Analysis (LESA™)

Dissociation Methods

  • Collision-induced dissociation (CID)
  • Electron transfer dissociation (ETD)
  • Electron capture dissociation (ECD)
  • Sustained on/off-resonance irradiation collision-induced dissociation (SORI-CID)
  • Infrared multiphoton dissociation (IRMPD)

This state-of-the-art instrument is available as a research tool for both academic and industrial collaboration. FT-ICR MS displays the highest mass resolution (2,000,000), the best mass accuracy (sub-ppm) of any MS technique.

The SolariX MALDI source is based on a dual ion funnel design that includes the combination of MALDI and ESI. This unique source is capable of immediate and effortless switching between the two ionisation methods. The combination of MALDI with the SolariX FTMS addresses a need in the industrial and in academic research institutions for a high-performance imaging solution targeted specifically to the tissue distribution of small molecule drugs and metabolites, endogenous metabolic spatial profiling, and lipid imaging.

The SolariX MALDI system incorporates the innovative, proprietary smartbeam-II™ laser which includes a robust solid state 1 kHz laser with advanced optics for molecular imaging, for:

  • Ultra-high mass resolution high-sensitivity small molecule MALDI-MS imaging, without a loss in sensitivity due to MS/MS for selectivity
  • Sensitivity necessary to detect drugs and metabolites at therapeutic dosages
  • Fast data acquisition of up to 1 pixel/sec with 1 kHz laser speed
  • Laser spot sizes down to 20 um allowing high spatial resolution
  • Instantaneous source switching allowing trouble free changeover from ESI to MALDI

Students using the UltraflexXtremeFeatures the latest advancements in the sensitivity, resolution and mass accuracy of MALDI-TOF and TOF/TOF technology for high-success expression proteomics and advanced biomarker discovery studies. The innovative smartbeam-II™ laser enables ultra-high data acquisition speed in both MS and MS/MS at full systems performance. The well-established proprietary smartbeam-II™ laser provides unprecedented analytical and matrix flexibility in workflows from protein tissue imaging, intact proteins analysis, glycoproteomics, biologics or oligo QC.


  • Up to 40,000 mass resolution and 1 ppm mass accuracy
  • Mass range 50-500,000 m/z
  • Tissue imaging at 20 µm spatial resolution; integrated with histology
  • High throughput analysis with 2 kHz laser and 384 well sample target
  • Protein quantification using stable isotope labelling (iTRAQ, SILAC, etc.)
  • Laser spot sizes down to 20 µm allowing high spatial resolution
  • Top-down protein sequencing of without enzymatic digestion

Waters Synapt G2 HDMS instrumentSYNAPT™ G2 HDMS is a high resolution MS/MS platform designed to get you to the right result, faster-whether you specialize in metabolite profiling, proteomics, biomarker discovery, biopharmaceuticals or screening applications.

The SYNAPT™ G2 is an ion mobility/mass spectrometry (IM/MS) instrument equipped with an electrospray ionization source. The instrument can be operated in the IM/MS and in the MS only mode.


  • Up to 40,000 mass resolution and 1 ppm mass accuracy
  • Mass range 20 – 100,000 m/z
  • Hydrogen Deuterium Exchange (HDX-MS)
  • Liquid Extraction Surface Analysis (LESA™)
  • ACQUITY UPLC® for the highest chromatographic resolution, speed and sensitivity.
  • QuanTof Technology ensures you'll capture the most complete and informative exact mass data in UPLC® timeframes, complemented by UPLC/MSE capability to capture all of the data all of the time.