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Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory - Equipment

Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory - Equipment

The Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory at NASA Goddard is an 1800 ft2 unique facility dedicated to analyzing organic compounds in terrestrial analogs and extraterrestrial materials. The fundamental approach is a targeted search by compound class using either mass spectrometry and gas (GCMS) or liquid (LCMS) chromatographic separation of sample extracts and usually two independent simultaneous detection systems.

GCMS

Thermo Finnigan Trace DSQ GC QMS system: This system is equipped with a GC with split/splitless injector and a subambient liquid N2 cryogenic oven. The quadrupole MS with electron ionization source allows for full scans and single ion monitoring. Sample can also be introduced via a pyrolysis unit.

Thermo Finnigan Trace 1310-TSQ8000 GC-triple quadrupole MS system: This system is equipped with a GC with split/splitless injector and a subambient liquid N2 cryogenic oven. The triple quadrupole MS with electron ionization source allows for full scans, single ion monitoring, and multiple reaction monitoring.

LECO GC-HRT+ 4D system: This GC×GC-ToF-MS system contains an Agilent 7890B gas chromatograph (GC), and LECO Dual Stage, Quad Jet Thermal Modulator serve as the inlet to high resolution time of flight mass spectrometer. The mass spectrometer has mass range of 10-1500 m/z, a resolving power of up to 50,000, and an acquisition of 200 Hz.

Thermo Finnigan hybrid GC-MS/IRMS instrument with auxiliary TC/EA and EA inlets: This is an instrument suite for both bulk and compound-specific isotope analysis. The core is a dual-inlet MAT 253 isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) with multiple inlets for sample introduction. The Trace GC is also connected to a DSQ II quadrupole mass spectrometer.

LCMS

Waters ACQUITY UHPLC (3): Two UHPLCs are two channel LC that functions at high tolerances, one is a four channel LC. One has an ACQUITY Photodiode Array Detector, and all three ACQUITYs have Multi-Channel Fluorescence Detector (FD) for operations up to 15,000 psi for improved separations by allowing the use of columns packed with 1.7µm resin.

Waters nanoAcquity UHPLC: This nanoflow UHPLC has a 10,000 psi maximum operating pressure, and stable flow rates from 0.1-50µL/minute. It is attached to a Picometrics ZETALIF laser induced fluorescence detector with a 355nm diode pulsed laser optimized for the flow rates and capillary tubes of the nanoAcquity. Serves as an inlet to the Thermo LTQ Orbitrap XL.

Thermo Vanquish UHPLC: This UHPLC (Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatograph) is a four channel LC that functions at high tolerances. It has an Accela Photodiode Array Detector for operations up to 15,000 psi.

Thermo Orbitrap Exactive: This is a Fourier Transform (FT) mass spectrometer with a mass accuracy of <1 ppm below 400 m/z, a resolution of over 100,000 at masses below 400 m/z. Also contains an optional Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) solid scanning inlet.

Waters Micromass LCT Premier: This is a time-of-flight (ToF) mass spectrometer with electrospray (ESI), corona ionization (APCI), and photoionization (APPI) sources. It possesses a mass accuracy of 5 ppm below 200 m/z, a resolution of 10,000 at masses below 550 m/z, and has a mass range of 25 to 30,000 m/z. The MS can rotate between two sources and switch polarity every second. Sample is introduced via electrospray from a Waters ACQUITY.

Waters Xevo G2 QToF: This is a quadrupole time-of-flight (QToF) mass spectrometer with an electrospray (ESI) and corona ionization (APCI) source. It possesses a mass accuracy of 2 ppm, a resolution of 32,500, and has a mass range of 20 to 100,000 m/z. Sample is introduced via electrospray from a Waters ACQUITY.

Waters Quattro Micro API: This triple quadrupole (QqQ) mass spectrometer allows MS/MS for structural identification of compounds in a mass range of 2-2000. Sample is introduced via electrospray from a Waters ACQUITY UHPLC.

Other Sample Preparation Facilities

The lab is also equipped with an ISO 8 white room with a fume hood and two ISO 5 HEPA filtered benches for sample preparation. A variety of other supporting equipment including microblances, furnaces for pyrolyzing glass and substrates, freeze dryer, stereo microscope, a torch, rotary evaporator, ultrahigh purity water, the necessary glassware, a vacuum system, balances, fume hoods, gas regulators, meteorite safes, a dedicated data server with daily backups to a different building, separate quiet data analysis workstation room, etc.

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ISO 8 white room with HEPA flow benches
Thermo Finnigan hybrid GC-MS/IRMS instrument with auxiliary TC/EA and EA inlets
Thermo Finnigan Trace 1310-TSQ8000 GC-triple quadrupole MS system
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