Mass spectrometry (MS) is largely responsible for propelling the ongoing proteomics revolution,1 and the boom in MS applications has not gone unnoticed by instrument manufacturers. For the past few months Micromass, Thermo Finnigan, and Applied Biosystems have rolled out new instruments or offered new technologies to enhance existing hardware. The Scientist reviews three of these developments below.

When researchers perform peptide mass fingerprinting on gel slices, they typically use matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) spectrometers, such as Applied Biosystems' 4700 Proteomic Analyzer, the subject of the first review. But not all spectrometers use MALDI; others use electrospray ionization (ESI) instead. A liquid-phase technology, ESI allows researchers to couple the system to a high-performance liquid chromatography or capillary electrophoresis system to fractionate samples, instead of using gel electrophoresis for that purpose. Researchers tend to use ESI with tandem mass spectrometers, such as the LCQ™ Deca XP ion trap instrument included...

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