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908 Devices Introduces World’s First Handheld Mass Spectrometer

Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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M908 uses patented high-pressure mass spectrometry to enhance detection and identification capabilities for first responders.

908 Devices has introduced M908™, the world’s first truly handheld tool utilizing high-pressure mass spectrometry™ (HPMS). Specifically engineered for civilian users, first responders, and military teams, M908 provides accurate, immediate detection and identification of trace level chemical and explosive hazards at the point-of-action.

Conventional mass spectrometers (MS) are typically confined to centralized laboratories by their large size, fragility and complexity of operation and maintenance.

Early efforts at shrinking MS lead to luggable mass spec systems however, these instruments remain large and fragile resulting in limited deployment.

908 Devices is the first to deliver MS capability in a truly rugged and handheld form factor dramatically expanding first responder capabilities. Unlike any other MS, M908 weighs less than 2kg (4.4 lbs) and is battery powered for continuous operation in the field.

It has been designed to meet commercial and military standards (MIL-STD-810G); which require repeated drops onto concrete and metal, storage and operation in extreme hot and cold conditions, and ingress protection to dust and water.

The patented HPMS technology which powers M908 uses diminutive ion traps that measure less than a millimeter in diameter and that are capable of operation at 10,000 times higher pressure than those in conventional MS systems. This enables the use of small, rugged vacuum pumps, micro ionizers, detectors and efficient electronics.

“At 908 Devices we believe in solving specific problems, creating unique tools rather than general purpose instruments that do anything - but nothing quite that well. M908 is our first fit-for-purpose product line built on this philosophy,” says Dr. Kevin J. Knopp, co-founder and chief executive officer at 908 Devices. “We have received a very positive initial response to M908 and look forward to even broader applications with the technology.”

At the core of HPMS is seminal intellectual property of micro mass spectrometry developed by 908 Devices’ Science Founder, Dr. J. Michael Ramsey; the Minnie N. Goldby Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The research conducted by Ramsey’s group on micro MS began at Oak Ridge National Labs and continued at UNC. This is an on-going program that has invested $17.5M in support from DOE, DARPA, and DTRA.

This HPMS technology has already been recognized by the scientific community, winning The Analytical Scientist Innovation Award in 2013 and demonstrating the impact that small, simple and robust mass spec devices will have.


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