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New Hybrid Device Has Mass Spectrometry And Microscopy Power

First Posted: Nov 06, 2015 04:02 PM EST

Researchers have created a hybrid optical microscope, which also features a mass spectrometry-based imaging system. This new device paves the way for advance developments in the areas of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences and disease progression, according to a study at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The new device does not require any type of pretreatment samples to analyze chemical compounds with sub-micron resolution, according to the researchers.

"Knowing the chemical basis of material interactions that take place at interfaces is vital for designing and advancing new functional materials that are important for DOE missions such as organic photovoltaics for solar energy," said Gary Van Berkel, researcher of the study, in a news release.

The hybrid device can transfer tiny amounts of a material, like human tissue or an organic molecule, through an advanced laser system, where material is collected and sent to the spectrometer. In a matter of seconds, the results are displayed on a computer screen. The new device provides an effective and well-detailed chemical analysis through a simple interface between a hybrid optical microscope and mass spectrometry.

"The new tool can be used to better understand the chemical basis of important biological processes such as drug transport, disease progression and response for treatment," said Van Berkel.

The findings of this study were published in Analytical Chemistry.

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