Shimadzu has introduced the iMScope QT, a MALDI-MS imaging system with a built-in optical microscope. The mass spectrometry imaging system combines the LCMS-9030 Q-TOF mass spectrometer with a built-in optical microscope, the new iMLayer AERO for matrix coating, Imaging MS Solution software for data acquisition and IMAGEREVEAL software for data analysis. The iMScope QT is suitable for medical and pharmaceutical applications as well as for agricultural and food sciences. It visualises distributions of target substances in microscopic regions by using the optical images from the integrated microscope as well as information about the localisations of m/z values from mass spectrometric analysis. For example, the system can be applied in cancer treatment to verify proper drug distribution.
The iMLayer AERO is an instrument for preparing MALDI imaging analysis. It allows automated sample coating with the MALDI matrix by sublimation, which provides a very consistent coating, leading to results with high reproducibility.
The iMScope QT offers high-precision guidance of the sample target and an extremely stable UV laser combined with a quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (Q-TOF). This combination achieves a spatial resolution of 5 μm. Compared to the previous model (iMScopeTrio), the iMScope QT delivers three times the mass resolution and five times the image acquisition speed. For example, the acquisition time of a tissue section (14 mm × 7 mm, 20 μm resolution) can be reduced from 4 hours to about 50 minutes.
The MALDI imaging module with integrated optical microscope can be easily coupled to or removed from the mass spectrometer. Swapped with an ESI or APCI source, the instrument can be used as a Q-TOF LC-MS system, known as the LCMS-9030. Users who already use an LCMS-9030 system can purchase the MALDI imaging unit separately.