Orbitrap mass spectrometry: Instrumentation, ion motion and applications

Richard H. Perry, R. Graham Cooks, Robert J. Noll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since its introduction, the orbitrap has proven to be a robust mass analyzer that can routinely deliver high resolving power and mass accuracy. Unlike conventional ion traps such as the Paul and Penning traps, the orbitrap uses only electrostatic fields to confine and to analyze injected ion populations. In addition, its relatively low cost, simple design and high space-charge capacity make it suitable for tackling complex scientific problems in which high performance is required. This review begins with a brief account of the set of inventions that led to the orbitrap, followed by a qualitative description of ion capture, ion motion in the trap and modes of detection. Various orbitrap instruments, including the commercially available linear ion trap-orbitrap hybrid mass spectrometers, are also discussed with emphasis on the different methods used to inject ions into the trap. Figures of merit such as resolving power, mass accuracy, dynamic range and sensitivity of each type of instrument are compared. In addition, experimental techniques that allow mass-selective manipulation of the motion of confined ions and their potential application in tandem mass spectrometry in the orbitrap are described. Finally, some specific applications are reviewed to illustrate the performance and versatility of the orbitrap mass spectrometers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-699
Number of pages39
JournalMass Spectrometry Reviews
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Broadband AC dipolar excitation
  • FT-MS
  • Fourier transform
  • High resolution
  • Hybrid spectrometer
  • Ion motion control
  • Ion trap
  • Mass accuracy
  • Orbitrap
  • Peak shape
  • Resolving power
  • Simulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Orbitrap mass spectrometry: Instrumentation, ion motion and applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this