Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time of Flight (MALDI-ToF) mass spectrometry is a method that allows the detection of a charged molecule's mass using a precise time measurement.
This technique is particularly useful for the detection of macromolecules, for example natural macromolecules such as proteins and peptides but also synthetic macromolecules such as polymers.
The MALDI ToF MS technique will benefit a large number of groups at the University of Fribourg carrying out research in different areas:
Measuring the precise mass of a synthetic polymer allows not just the calculation/determination of its size but also gives valuable information with regard to the chemical nature of the end groups, i.e. the polymer chain ends. These end groups are often important for attaching the polymer to other molecules or surfaces.
The MALDI ToF MS will be used for the precise identification of proteins, synthetic graphite fragments and supramolecular polymers containing coordinated metals within the main chain.
In addition, mass spectroscopic analysis of peptide analytes immobilized on nanoparticles will help to better understand the molecular mechanisms of the neurochemical processes in the so-called deep brain stimulation, a technique which can successfully alleviate motor disorders in patients with Parkinson's disease.