High Throughput Mass Spectrometer to Support Synthetic, Supramolecular and Materials Projects

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Chemistry


The Department of Chemistry at the University of York is currently one of the leading research and teaching departments in the UK. Graded 5A in the recent research assessment exercise, with over 40 permanent members of academic staff, and enrolling ca. 40 graduates and well over 100 undergraduates every year, the Department of Chemistry is a large and thriving research community. It is essential that such a department has key analytical facilities which will enable and underpin the research of a wide variety of 'synthetic' groups. York has outstanding analytical services, for example nuclear magnetic resonance methods, with the university designating York as a centre of excellence. in this area. Unfortunately, however, York's mass spectrometry facilities are no longer able to cope with the molecules being generated within the department. Mass spectrometry is a key method used to essentially 'weigh' individual molecules and provide information about their structural identity and integrity. As chemists become increasingly adept at making new molecules, and assemblies of molecules with advanced functions, mass spectrometric methods have evolved significantly. Indeed mass spectrometry (MS) is the fastest growing of all techniques for structural characterisation. It is therefore essential that to remain at the forefront of chemical research, the Department of Chemistry at York should have the instrumentation requested - which makes use of a very mild method for sample ionisation (referred to as electrospray). The mass spectrometer requested in this proposal will enable researchers to easily measure spectra in a 'walk-up' mode - samples will be loaded onto a carousel system and then run automatically. The results will be e-mailed back to the users. This will make mass spectral measurement rapid and routine. It will also be possible to perform high resolution accurate mass determinations (in which molecules can effectively be weighed precisely). Using our current equipment it is not possible to do this with electrospray ionisation - yet this data is essential for publication in a number of scientific journals.The instrumentation will enable projects across a wide range of different chemistry. For example, synthetic organic chemists are involved in the synthesis of large numbers of biologically active molecules, as well as developing new methods for making molecules which are amenable to industrial application. Chemists at York are also developing biological model systems, which often have to be ionised with great care (e.g. by electrospray) to achieve effective mass spectrometry without fragmenting the structures. There is also great interest in the organised assembly of molecules to form new nanoscale arrays with intriguing reversible and controllable materials properties (e.g. gels, liquid crystals etc.). These non-covalent assemblies must be analysed using very mild mass spectrometric methods - and this is difficult and time-consuming using the currently available equipment. Finally, the mass spectrometer will assist in the characterisation of novel polymers derived from biological feedstocks - such polymers are at the forefront of the green revolution, in which the next generation of materials will be constructed from environmentally benign building blocks


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Description This equipment bid provided MS instrumental support for the whole department. It has been extremely successful as judged by publications (a few represernative examples attached) and advances in research (judged by RAE and REF). The spectrometer has subsequently been upgraded but it is still functioning efficiently.
Exploitation Route The fundamental discoveries in the research, underpinned by this instrument, will be of great benefit to the scientific communitity, both academic and industrial.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description The fundamental discoveries in the research, underpinned by this instrument, will be of great benefit to the scientific communitity, both academic and industrial.
First Year Of Impact 2006
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Economic