Mass spectrometry has emerged as a powerful tool for the bioanalytical sciences because of its ability to characterize small and large biomolecules in vanishingly small amounts. A recurring motif in mass spectrometry aims to decipher the chemical composition of biological samples at the molecular level, requiring drastic improvements in the ability to interrogate well defined and highly spatially resolved areas of a sample surface. With the growth of novel ionization methods, numerous advances have been made in sampling biological tissue surfaces. Here, current advancements in ambient, inlet, and vacuum ionization methods are discussed with respect to the potential improvements in the goal of achieving high spatial resolution and/or fast surface analysis. Of similar importance is the need for improvements in applicable characterization strategies using high performance fragmentation technologies such as electron transfer dissociation and electron capture dissociation directly from surfaces, and gas-phase separation through ion mobility spectrometry and high resolution mass spectrometry.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.