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What is the maximum number of transitions for a TOF-MRM method? - WKB92322

Article number: 92322


  • Xevo G2-S
  • Xevo G2-XS
  • SYNAPT G2-Si
  • Vion IMS QTof


With triple-quad instruments, it is normal to acquire a high number of transitions. However, similar experiments on a TOF instrument are not possible. The detectors for TOF and triple quad work in a very different manners. 

  • On a triple-quadrupole instrument, the photo-multiplier measures an ion current. The intensity (measured flow of ions) does not change with scan time. This is similar to measuring the voltage of a battery with a voltmeter. The reading will be the same if the measurement is done for one second or 10 seconds.
  • On a TOF instrument, ions are being pushed in the flight tube every 50 µs (rough estimate depending on mass range and length of flight tube). The ions travel to the detector and separate according to their m/z. The longer the scan time, the more pushes are being combined, and the higher the observed signal.

Therefore, when acquiring too many transitions on a TOF instrument, the duty cycle decreases quickly, with more transitions leading to poor sensitivity. The general advice is to avoid more than four simultaneous transitions. Above four transitions, the sensitivity benefits of TOF-MRM are lost, and standard MSE or HDMSE measurements would be preferable.



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