Topic high resolution mass spectrometry

Dr. Christopher Rüger

View in our FTMS laboratory.

About high resolution mass spectrometry

High resolved mass spectrum of a heavy oil.

High resolution mass spectrometry enables the exact assignment of the mass-to-charge ratio of ions with the help of high mass resolving power and mass accuracy. Due to the mass defect of the individual isotopes, each exact mass composed of CcHhNnOoSs is unique and be used for the calculation of the sum formulae of unknown signals. That way, high resolution mass spectrometers are able to resolve signals which have the same nominal mass and therefore, thousands of  species can be identified in a single spectrum without further separation.


The advantages of high resolution mass spectrometry.

As ultra-high resolution mass spectrometers, Orbitraps and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometers (FT-ICR MS) are applied. In our group, two FT-ICR MS intruments at one 7T magnet and one Orbitrap are available.

At the moment, the focus of our FTMS group is the development of analysis method for the characterization of complex mixtures such as petroleum derived samples and combustion aerosols. Besides, we are part of the EU_FT-ICR MS project, a network project of 11 FT-ICR centres across the european union. The option of Trans National Access (TNA) enables researchers and small and medium enterprises to apply for measurement time at the FT-ICR MS instruments of the centres. For more information, check out the official website Another project of our sub group is the AerOrbi project, in which we try to develop a new photoionisation orbitrap mass spectrometer for aerosols. 

Method developement

Mass spectrometry needs charged molecules - or in other words - ions. Therefore, we develop and optimize different (photo)ionisation techniques for special applications or different sample inlet systems. Each ionisation method and each sample inlet technique has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is important to find for each sample the appropriate inlet technique and preparation as well as a suitable ionisation method, because non of our atmospheric pressure ionisation techniques is able to ionise the whole chemical space. You have to keep in mind that we can only ionise a part of the present molecules and we possibly need to combine several techniques for a comprehansive analysis.


University of Rostock
Institute of Chemistry
Division of Analytical and Technical Chemistry
Department Life Light & Matter
Dr. Christopher Rüger
Albert-Einstein-Straße 25
18059 Rostock (Germany)

Tel.: +49 (0) 381 498 - 8990
E-Mail: christopher.rueger(at)


The University of Rostock is part of the Horizon 2020 EU_FT-ICR_MS project to establish an European FT-ICR MS network to provide transnational access to FTMS for end-users and scientists for an easier scientific progress and to increase joint research activities. Read more & find important dates

The AerOrbi project aims to develop a new hyphenated instrument for online aerosol particulate matter characterisation combining analysis of soot content and single particle characterisation of the chemical composition by photo ionisation Orbitrap high-resolution mass spectrometry.