Signal Recovery

Fast Flight-2 Digital Signal Averager
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With its ability to process up to 100 averaged spectra per second, while responding proportionally to multiple ions in each detector pulse, the FASTFLIGHT-2 is a superior solution for data acquisition in LC/TOF-MS and GC/TOF-MS applications. Chromatograph technology is advancing towards shorter retention times, and this pushes the time-of-flight
mass spectrometer (TOF-MS) to acquire averaged spectra much more rapidly. FASTFLIGHT-2 improves the TOF spectra processing rate by a factor of 10 compared to first-generation digital signal averagers, thus enabling much faster chromatographs.

Because it employs a sampling ADC and a hardware digital signal averager, FASTFLIGHT-2 can handle the high ion rates encountered in LC/TOF-MS, GC/TOF-MS, Ion-Trap/TOF-MS and MALDI I TOF-MS without suffering the dead-time distortions inherent in a time-to-digital converter (TDC). Compared to transient digitizers and digital sampling oscilloscopes, which suffer from slow software averaging, FASTFLIGHT-2 delivers averaged spectra many orders of magnitude faster.

The innovative, automatic correlated noise subtraction feature means FASTFLIGHT-2 can also be a productive solution for the lower ion rates encountered in quadrupole/quadrupolefTOF mass spectrometers (QqTOF-MS), previously considered to be the exclusive domain of TDCs and time digitizers.

FASTFLIGHT-2 does it all!

How Does It Achieve Such Impressive Performance?
Starting With the Chromatograph/TOF-MS, the sample from the chromatograph is typically injected into the acceleration region of the TOF-MS through an electrospray nozzle. Although the detail is not depicted in Figure 1, the result is a cloud of ionized molecules between the acceleration electrode and the grounded grid in the source region of the TOF-MS. Periodically, a brief high-voltage pulse is applied to the acceleration electrode. This causes the ionized molecules to accelerate and travel along the field-free drift tube. The molecules are separated according to mass, with the lighter molecules attaining higher velocities and arriving at the detector before the heavier molecules reach that end of the flight path. The flight time is proportional to the square root of the mass-to-charge ratio, m/z, of the ionized molecule. As a group of molecules of a particular m/z arrives at the detector, it causes the detector to generate an analog output pulse whose amplitude is nominally proportional to the number of molecules in that group. Thus, the time at which the detector pulse is produced represents the m/z value, and the amplitude is proportional to the number of ions of that specific mass and charge. Accordingly, the spectrum of flight times is measured to generate the mass spectrum.

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