This mass analyzer measures the flight time of ions until they reach the detector. An electrical field accelerates ions, and the time they take to reach the detector is measured. Ions with the same initial translational energy and m/z ratio have the same flight time, whereas heavier particles have a lower travel time. However, the mass resolution of a TOF analyzer is reduced due to the spreading of the initial energy. To increase the mass resolution of a TOF analyzer, a reflectron at the end of the tube was implemented . The reflection focuses ions with the same m/z ratio but different kinetic energies in space and time, though they arrive at the same time at the detector. Initially, the TOF analyzer was coupled to MALDI. However, it has now been successfully coupled to ESI. ESI and MALDI are often used in combination with Q-TOF analyzers. These instruments have the advantage of high resolution of the TOF analyzer and the efficient ion selection of the quadrupole [5, 6].
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