Technology - Laser Ablation Direct Analysis in Real Time-Imaging Mass Spectrometry (LADI-MS)

Laser Ablation Direct Analysis in Real Time-Imaging Mass Spectrometry (LADI-MS)

Offers the potential of real-time small-sample analysis for a very large variety of applications.


Real Time Imaging Mass Spectrometry (RTMS) is a method for analyzing and identifying biological samples in real time. RTMS can be used in an extremely broad variety of applications, involving chemistry, biochemistry, food sciences, and medicine. This technique also offers the potential for biosensors that can be used for real-time assessment of plant health and rapid detection of diseases. At present, methods for small molecule imaging by RTMS use sample pre-treatments such as cryo-sectioning, dehydration, chemical fixation, or the application of a matrix or solvent to obtain interpretable spatial distribution data. Unfortunately, these steps, along with requirements of the mass analyzer (such as high vacuum) can limit the range of sample types that can by analyzed by RTMS.

Technology Overview:

This technology uses a novel technique called LADI-MS (Laser Ablation Direct Analysis in Real Time Imaging-Mass Spectrometry). The technology combines a Nd:YAG laser with a direct analysis in real-time (DART) – SVP ion source and mass spectrometer. The system provides the small molecule spatial distribution of individual compounds within a sample. Samples that can be analyzed include plants (wood, seeds, leaves), paper, and biological tissue. For example, the technology can perform wood analysis to provide information on the relationship between chemical make-up and certain wood anatomical patterns, the potential for using small-molecule spatial distributions in wood for timber identification, the distribution of metabolites within wood transects, and studying a tree’s chemical response based upon climatic events. 


Unlike current methods, this technology does not require:
•    Cryo-sectioning.
•    Dehydration.
•    Chemical fixation.
•    Application of a matrix or solvent to obtain interpretable spatial distribution data.


This technology can be applied to a wide spectrum of applications, including:
•    Chemistry.
•    Biochemistry.
•    Food sciences and medicine. 
•    Assessment of plant health.
•    Rapid detection of diseases.
•    Analysis of tissues of humans and animals.
•    Fingerprint analysis.
•    Detection of molecules such as psychoactive, hazardous, or explosive compounds. 
•    Document validation.

Intellectual Property Summary:

Copyright (Registered)

Stage of Development:

TRL 3 - Experimental proof of concept

Licensing Status:

This technology is available for licensing.

Licensing Potential:

This technology would be of interest to anyone involved in research that involves analyzing and identifying samples in real-time, including:
•    Chemistry and biochemical research laboratories and institutions.
•    Environmentalists.
•    Agricultural professionals.
•    Government officials (for example, individuals responsible for enforcing restrictions on the trade of certain wood species).
•    Homeland security.
•    Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.
•    Medical research laboratories.

Patent Information: