Scientists at ETH Zurich have set a world record in mass spectrometry by observing the largest ever mass-to-charge ratio of over 1 Mio Dalton (MDa) using a special mass spectrometer. The researchers in the team of Prof. Renato Zenobi had to overcome two obstacles, the intact vaporization and ionization of the sample, as well as the detection of the very large ions. Modern soft ionization methods allow giant molecules such as proteins or DNA to be brought into the gas phase. The ETH researchers employed desorption and ionization using a pulsed UV laser.
For mass separation, they used a time-of-flight mass spectrometer, which separates ions of different mass-to-charge ratio by their drift time through an evacuated fligh tube. The largest ions take the longest time, and are difficult or impossible to detect with conventional detectors, due to their small drift velocity. One possibility would be to produce multiply charged ions and detect them in a more accessible mass-to-charge ratio range. The ETH researchers chose a more direct and elegant way, by carrying out their measurements on an instrument developed by Comet AG of Switzerland equipped with a superconducting tunnel junction detector. In this way, simple and directly interpretable mass spectra were obtained from immunoglobuline M (ca. 1 MDa) and from von Willebrand factor, a group of proteins that play an important role in coagulation of blood (signals at 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2 MDa).
Renato Zenobi | alfa
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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