In 1989, the first commercial, dedicated Atmospheric Pressure Ionisation (API) tandem quadrupole mass spectrometry system was launched at the Pittsburgh Conference (PittCon) in Atlanta, Georgia (GA), USA. The API III, as it was called, was introduced to the analytical chemistry market to enable scientists to do pioneering work by quantifying molecules in liquid-phase samples. Previously, this could only be done by introducing samples to a mass spectrometer while they were in the gas phase. Looking back, the introduction of the API III undoubtedly revolutionized the field of life science research. It propelled the development and use of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) into the main scientific arena. As Tom Covey, Principal Research Scientist at SCIEX, stated in the first episode of the Generation Quant series, “It cracked the liquid phase/gas phase dilemma.”
Revisiting the 30-year history is particularly fitting, as ASMS 2019 took place in Atlanta, GA this year, where the API III was first launched to become the benchmark for LC-MS performance. With the IonSpray™ source, the API III revolutionized the way companies performed molecular analysis, influencing significant progress in areas from pharmaceutical drug development to food safety testing.
“[The API IIIs] were incredibly sensitive. They solved problems that had existed for decades – and that was how to measure analytes in an LC flow reproducibly and with high sensitivities and single-to-noise ratios that just were not possible before,” said Jim Hager, Principal Research Scientist at SCIEX.
“Suddenly you had this new piece of software and hardware. But it was the speed of that and that’s why people adopted it,” said Liz Thomas, Co-Founder, and CEO of Alderley Analytical. “When you look at the bigger picture of that, it means they were making faster decisions, and it was helping them move the whole industry on.”
Now, 30 years later, SCIEX is still innovating and pushing the boundaries of quantification to inform customers’ critical decisions and truly make “The Power of Precision” a reality.
To learn more about the history of the API development through to today’s innovations, visit the SCIEX Generation Quant website where you can view the video series in its entirety and learn more about how mass spectrometry development touches the lives of the human population in so many ways that might not be obvious. I call it “The most widely used analytical chemistry technology that no one knows about!”
As for SCIEX innovation, the journey continues, so stay tuned for more. Register your interest to find out when new developments to move your science forward are just around the corner.