Analysis of Liquid Samples by Desorption Electrospray Ionization-Mass Spectrometry (DESI-MS) [ID 08023]



Mass Spectrometry (MS) works by converting molecules into ions which can then be detected and analyzed. DESI-MS applications were previously restricted to analyzing solid samples on surfaces. Researchers at Ohio University have discovered a novel application of DESI by fostering the technology to analyze liquid samples. In this technique, titled as liquid sample desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LS-DESI-MS), liquid samples such as urine are driven to the surface where ionization occurs. In addition, the technology can be modified to provide a platform where ionic reactions occur and could be used with separation techniques such as electrophoresis and micro-fluids for widespread applications.

Commercial Application

The technology can have several beneficial applications in areas of chemical analysis that require a high degree of selectivity. DESI has been highly successful in analyzing a series of samples that may include pharmaceuticals, metabolites, drugs of abuse, explosives, chemical warfare agents and intact tissues. The current extended DESI- MS method has the added advantage of being able to directly analyze liquid samples including urine and blood in pharmaceuticals and forensics applications. The fabrication of a portable device using this technology can facilitate security operations at airports and other security-sensitive areas, especially for monitoring liquid products such as gel, beverages, and perfume. Mass Spectrometers are projected to reach $2.5 billion in earned revenue in 2017. The global Bioinformatics market is projected to grow at an annual growth rate of 21.1% into a $16 billion industry by 2021.


Increase in the scope of the existing technology will be obtained in ionizing bio-fluids in their natural state and by the direct ionization of high mass proteins from solutions.

Improved response time (in seconds), ionization efficiency and cost effectiveness of the sample analysis by the detection of biological samples without any sample preparation.

Enhanced effectiveness and sensitivity of the proposed device due to the production of continuous ion signals.

Enhancement in detection sensitivity of analysis is achieved by spraying a solution of reagents to selectively react with samples.

Enable high throughput analysis


The new technique was successfully tested by using several types of amino acids, peptides, protein digests and proteins as well as drug-containing urine samples its high sensitivity, selectivity and speed for chemical analysis. Additional research activities may be needed to couple the proposed technique to chromatography, electrophoresis and microfluidics to facilitate high quality of separation in sample analysis. chemical imaging using LS-DESI-MS is another sought after research area. The patent for the proposed technology is pending. Licensing opportunities are available.

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Issued Patents




Patent Information:
Mass Spectrometry
For Information, Contact:
Korie Counts
Technology Commercialization Manager
Ohio University
Hao Chen