Mass Spectrometry Resource Center

Jack Beauchamp, PI

The overall objective of research in the Resource Center for Mass Spectrometry (RCMS) is the opportunistic development of novel mass spectrometric instruments and experimental methodologies that have specific applications to chemical, biochemical, environmental, and space science problems, and to assist members of the Caltech and JPL community in developing new methods for chemical analysis. The principal long range goal is to develop instruments which permit efficient transfer of suitably ionized intact biological molecules into the gas phase where they can be detected and studied using a variety of mass spectrometric techniques, and to develop chemical and physical probes to examine the properties and structures of biomolecules, including the determination of peptide and oligonucleotide sequence information. Methods include time of flight, ion trap, and quadrupole mass spectrometers, Fourier transform mass spectroscopy, and ion mobility spectroscopy. Ion source methodology includes electron impact, photoionization, chemical ionization, fast ion bombardment and laser desorption from liquid and solid matrices, electrospray ionization, desorption electrospray ionization (DESI), and direct analysis in real time (DART). Additional ionization methods, developed over the past decade in the RCMS, include field induced droplet ionization (FIDI), the atmospheric pressure pyroelectric ion source (APPIS), the switched ferroelectric ion source (SwiFerr), and the Peltier condensate ion source (PCIS). In addition, near field scanning optical microscopy has been combined with mass spectrometry and optical emission spectroscopy to develop novel instruments for chemical imaging of surfaces with submicron resolution. The Resource Center for Mass Spectrometry is involved in collaborative JPL/NASA efforts to develop instruments and methods supporting NASA programs relating to chemical analysis in space environments, life detection, and astrobiology. Although the resource center does not operate as a service facility for routine chemical and biochemical analysis, suitably trained individuals are allowed to make use of the instruments in the facility without charge for this purpose, and collaborations to develop new instruments and methods involving mass spectrometry are encouraged.

NOTE: This Resource Center will terminate at the end of summer 2017, and the instrumental resources moved to other labs, but interest in collaborative projects will continue to be welcome. For more information visit the Beauchamp group website.


Jack Beauchamp
Room 234B - Noyes Laboratory
Mail Code 127-72
Tel: (626) 395-6525
Fax: (626) 568-8641