Waters' ionKey/MS System wins R&D 100 Award

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  • Published: Nov 20, 2015
  • Author: Jon Evans
  • Source: Waters Corporation
  • Suppliers: Waters Corporation
  • Channels: HPLC / Base Peak

Waters’ ionKey/MS System has received an R&D Magazine R&D 100 Award as one of the 100 most technologically innovative products to be introduced over the past year.

“I’d like to thank the publisher and editors of R&D Magazine and the judges for choosing our ionKey/MS System for this award,” said Ian King, vice president – separations science, Waters Division. “The response of scientists to the product has been extremely gratifying and our development team and our collaborators deserve all the credit for bringing this product to market despite the technological challenges this novel approach presented.”

The Waters ionKey/MS System is intended for use with Waters ACQUITY UPLC M-Class System and a range of Waters mass spectrometers, including the Xevo TQ-S, Xevo G2-XS and the Synapt G2-Si. By physically integrating a UPLC separation into the mass spectrometer, the ionKey/MS System can improve sensitivity by up to 40 times, allowing scientists to achieve unparalleled separation and detection of compounds.

Despite only being the size of a smartphone, the ionKey/MS System’s iKey Microfluidic Separation Device contains the fluidic connections, electronics, ESI interface, column heater, eCord Intelligent Chip Technology and the 1.7µm UPLC grade particles packed inside a channel with an inner diameter of 150µm. It is able to perform hundreds upon hundreds of UPLC separations reproducibly and reliably without a degradation in performance.

For quantifying extremely low abundant analytes, researchers often turn to microscale LC techniques employing microfluidics because of their ability to optimize ionization efficiency and improve MS sampling. In their 2014 article in the journal Bioanalysis, Merck scientists beta-testing the ionKey/MS System reported that the method they developed achieved an overall 20-fold increase in sensitivity (0.5 picomoles vs 11 picomoles) for endogenous levels of GLP-1 in human plasma. They also achieved a faster run time (nine minutes vs 35 minutes), and increased specificity and resolution over a more traditional LC-MS/MS method.

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