FT-ICR is the highest resolution mass spectrometer available and is useful in the analysis of extremely complex mixtures, including petroleum, metabolites, and for the characterization of large biological molecules such as proteins. The performance of FT-ICR systems improves with increasing magnetic field, and the highest field systems currently available operate at 15 T, so the 21.0 T system represents a dramatic improvement of 40% in mass resolution, and more than 90% in mass accuracy over currently available systems. The ICR program at the NHMFL leads the world in instrument and technique development as well as in pursuing novel applications of FT-ICR mass spectrometry.
The Bruker Corporation develops and supplies complete high-performance FT-ICR (or FTMS) mass spectrometers, and also develop and supply ultra-high field superconducting magnets for NMR, EPR, preclinical MRI and FT-ICR. Its subsidiary Bruker Energy & Supercon Technologies, Inc. (BEST) is recognized as a leader in the development and supply of the specialized superconductors used in ultra-high field magnets. Bruker Corp. has already ordered the superconducting wire from BEST to meet the ambitious delivery schedule of the NHMFL 21 T FT-ICR magnet project.
Professor Alan Marshall, Robert O. Lawton Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida State University and Director of the high field FT-ICR program at the NHMFL commented: "The delivery of the 21.0 T FT-ICR magnet from Bruker, together with instrumentation developments we have planned, will lead to revolutionary new capabilities in FT-ICR, by significantly extending current upper limits for macromolecular weight, as well as chemical complexity. We are confident in Bruker's ability to build and deliver this first-in-class magnet, and look forward to working with their team of experts on the design of the FT-ICR system for use with the magnet."
Dr. Chris Hendrickson, Director of Instrumentation for the high field FT-ICR program, stated: "In addition to important applications in biomedical sciences, we view the study of petroleum as one of the most important applications for the new instrument. As the world's supply of light sweet crude is exhausted and we turn to heavier sources of crude to meet our energy needs, the feedstock for refineries that produce fuel will become even more complex. To ensure the most efficient processing of these feedstocks into fuel that burns cleanly, an understanding of the nature of the feedstocks at a molecular level will be important. FT-ICR is the only mass spectrometric technique capable of completely resolving all of the molecular components of petroleum. The new 21.0 T FT-ICR system will be an important facility for research that will support the reliable production of clean burning petroleum products in the future."
The 21.0 T magnet design offers a 110 mm room temperature horizontal bore, and includes many design features pioneered by Bruker. These include operation at a temperature of ~2 Kelvin by use of Bruker's unique UltraStabilized(TM) cooling technology, the UltraShield(TM) technology which reduces magnetic stray fields, and makes the use of such magnets possible in a routine environment, as well as active magnet refrigeration technology that virtually eliminates user maintenance of the magnet.
Dr. Gerhard Roth, the Bruker Corporation Ultra-High Field Magnet Manager, said: "We are extremely pleased and honored to have been selected to build the world's first horizontal bore 21.0 T magnet for FT-ICR. While this magnet advances the envelope of current technology, we have a successful track record of delivering systems of similar complexity in order to enable novel science."
Dr. Klaus Schlenga, the Chief Technology Officer of BEST, added: "We are also proud to be part of this exciting project as the manufacturer of the core metallic superconductors for this novel 21.0 T FT-ICR magnet. We endeavour to supply high quality and performance NbTi and Nb3Sn superconductors produced using our proprietary bronze-route process, which we manufacture already for some of the most demanding ultra-high field NMR and MRI magnets."