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‘Neutral Mass Spectrometry’ Fills Gap in Existing Weighing Technologies
GRENOBLE, France – Nov. 27, 2018 – A team of French researchers has demonstrated a new mass-spectrometry technology based on nanomechanical resonators that measures the mass of particles previously beyond the reach of current commercial technology, and which they used to measure the mass of a whole bacteriophage virus capsid.
“In the mass range we are targeting, particles weigh the equivalent of 1 million to 1 billion hydrogen atoms. It is an intriguing range where some particles, just like objects of everyday life are constituted of an unspecific number of atoms, while others are known to contain specific numbers of atoms of defined masses: like small molecules, they have a defined molecular mass,” said Sebastien Hentz, director of research at CEA-Leti. “This is the case, for example, of the bacteriophage T5 virus capsid we have analyzed. To our knowledge, this is the highest molecular mass ever determined by mass spectrometry.”
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.