Using Our Instruments

The instruments in the Department of Chemistry mass spectrometry facility are available to all who require them in the course of their work, both from within the Johns Hopkins community, and from outside sources (including academia, commercial, government institutions, high schools, etc.). We welcome inquiries into the use of these instruments.

In order for us to expedite analysis of your samples and provide high quality experimental data, it is important that the facility is provided with a clearly defined experimental objective, along with all the necessary information for us to handle and analyse your samples. Therefore, when considering mass spectral analysis of your samples, please first contact the facility manager to discuss your requirements.

Typical pieces of information that we need to know include the following :-

  • What are the aims and requirements are  – i.e. what information do you wish to obtain from the experiment? e.g. Do you need an accurate mass measurement formula confirmation of a purified sample? Do you need an LC-MS identification of components of a complex mixture? Do you wish to do a quantitative measurement of a component in a  mixture?
  • What does the sample dissolve in?
  • What is the samples concentration?
  • How much sample or sample mixture will you be providing?
  • For GC-MS Samples, do you know the boiling point of the mixture components?
  • For accurate mass formula confirmation, do you know the molecular formula of the target species you wish to confirm the formula?
  • Do you need to provide additional samples to go with your analytical sample such as blanks and controls (necessary for GC-MS, LC-MS and standalone ESI).

Providing as much information enables us to select the correct instrument for analysis of your particular samples and enables us to turn-around the analysis more rapidly and provide higher quality data.

Please note that samples that are incorrectly prepared, that do not have requisite information or are incompatible with our instruments may be rejected or delayed until the required information is provided. We reserve the right to reject samples that are incompatible with our instruments or that are not prepared to the standards necessary for us to analyse them using our instruments.

Users wishing to utilize one of our “self-service” instruments (GC-MS, LC-MS, ESI-MS or Maldi-ToF) will need to participate in a training session on the relevant instrument and demonstrate competence before being issued operating privileges and access credentials. Instrument training is currently free and is normally conducted on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (time permitting). Users will need to contact the facility manager in advance to set up a training session. Training is normally conducted in small groups of less than three people, due to limited space in the instrument labs. Users will be expected to take comprehensive notes during the training sessions as course-notes are not provided

All users (including those who wish to submit samples for analysis on “full-service” instruments) will need to establish an account with the department for instrument access and billing purposes. To establish an account, please download and complete the Chemistry Core Facility Access Form and return it to the facility manager. A separate form will be required for each user who wishes to use our facilities.

Following successful completion of a training session and receipt of the Facility Access Form, users will be granted access credentials and usage privileges. Users are required to treat all instruments with care and respect and to maintain their competence in order to retain usage privileges. Where a user is considered to be causing a detrimental effect on a particular instrument, additional paid training sessions may be required by the Facility Manager. In rare circumstances, usage privileges may be withdrawn altogether (usually after several warnings).

For more information or to enquire about the use of our instruments, please contact Dr. Phil Mortimer at the Mass Spectrometry Facility, 410-516-5552, [email protected].

We look forward to working with you in the future.