Mass Spectrometer: 21T FTICR

EMSL’s 21 Tesla Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer, or 21T FTICR MS, is one of only two in the world with this high of a magnetic field strength. The 21T FTICR MS significantly enhances EMSL’s overall mass spectrometry analytical and characterization performance in terms of sensitivity, dynamic range, accuracy, resolution and speed.

The 21T FTICR mass spectrometer’s high field strength allows for higher resolution and higher mass accuracy measurements that ensure identification of molecular constituents in complex samples and materials.

This unprecedented level of performance is needed to unravel the chemistry and dynamics of complex natural systems in the environment. This transformative instrument enables the characterization of large, intact proteins and complex environmental and biological materials, allowing researchers to tackle previously intractable questions related to microbial communities, biofuel development, climate and environmental remediation.

By greatly advancing the molecular-level understanding of complex systems, this revolutionary mass spectrometry capability will enable better-informed technical and policy decisions affecting environmental remediation, waste processing, energy production and associated impacts to the environment. Moreover, the development of this mass spectrometry capability will ensure that EMSL will continue to provide leading-edge mass spectrometry resources to serve national and international users who are addressing critical Department of Energy mission needs. 

Learn more about the development of this new capability.

In the News

The impressive capabilities and promise of this next-generation instrument was highlighted in a feature article published Sept. 11, 2015, in Science. In the article, Ljiljana Paša-Tolić, EMSL’s lead scientist for mass spectrometry and technical lead for development of the 21T FTICR MS, explained the potential of using this instrument to characterize large, intact proteins in microbial communities or natural organic matter in soils and aerosols. Paša-Tolić was one of six scientists featured in the article.

Magnetic Attraction,” the cover story in the June issue of The Molecular Bond, EMSL’s bi-monthly newsletter, features the six inaugural studies selected to use the new instrument through a Special Science Call.

Instrument ID:
Availability: 10 hours a day, 5 days a week


No publications are available at this time.

Quick Specs

    • Cu x-ray tube operated at 40 kV and 15 mA (600W)
    • Bragg-Brentano geometry, fixed or variable+fixed slits
    • Graphite monochromator and scintillation detector
    • Vertical goniometer, 0 to 145 °2θ
    • Automated 6-position sample changer for powder specimens

Science Highlights

Posted: Monday, December 5, 2016 - 15:30
The Science A recent study demonstrated enormous potential for scientists to explore extremely complex molecular mixtures and systems frequently...
Posted: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - 09:08
Achieving a holistic, molecular-level understanding of cellular machinery and communication, microbial community dynamics, and other interactions...


Enzymatic hydrolysis of (ligno)cellulose by cellulases is key for the production of second generation biofuels which represent a long-standing...
Peatlands store 1/3 of all soil carbon (C) and currently act as net C sinks sequestering C as a complex mixture of organic compounds. The anoxic,...
This project will establish a Metabolomics Center at PNNL that will develop the advanced measurement capabilities necessary to define the metabolic...
The ability to elucidate complex metabolic behavior of living organisms in situ and with cellular resolution is a bioanalytical grand challenge that...
In tropical systems, changes in climate will likely affect both the amplitude and periodicity of redox oscillations due to predicted increases in...