...the ORBITRAP is a electrostatic ion trap using fast fourier transformation (FFT) to obtain mass spectra. It is a kind of Kingdon ion trap developed by Alexander Makarov and colleagues. It provides high mass accuracy (2-5 ppm), mass resolution (150.000), m/z range of 6000 and a linear range of 10 - to a fraction of cost of a FT-ICR-MS. The Orbitrap is usually operated as hybrid instrument together with a linear iontrap. Recently a Baby-Orbitrap called EXACTIVE Orbitrap was developed as a benchtop device without the linear iontrap but faster scan speed (10 scans/second) and CID (Collision Induced Dissociation) capability. Another new fast scanning Quadrupole-Exactive Orbitrap (Q-Exactive) was revealed at ASMS 2011, read the first publication here [PDF].

The suggestive name derives from the ions travelling in an orbit around the central electrode. Btw - if you open your LTQ OrbiTrap you will see the bling gold finish of the hand size OrbiTrap which also fits nicely into your cup board. Check Alexander Makarov's slides explaining the Orbitrap here [PDF].

Alexander Makarov received the ASMS 2008 Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry award and gave a breathtaking lecture about the "Orbitrap Story" in Denver. Check out the special Orbitrap issue in JASMS Vol 20, issue 8. 2009 [LINK].

Title The Orbitrap: a new mass spectrometer
Source Journal of Mass Spectrometry, Volume 40, Issue 4, Pages 430-443, 2005; Qizhi Hu, Robert J. Noll, Hongyan Li, Alexander Makarov, Mark Hardman, R. Graham Cooks
DOI dx.doi.org/10.1002/jms.856
Short Review

This review describes major improvements made with the new Orbitrap MS. Mathematical functions, components, specifications and applications with an electrospray ionization source (ESI) are given.

Title The Orbitrap: a novel high-performance electrostatic trap
Source The ASMS Abstracts 1999; Alexander Makarov
DOI www.asms.org/asms99pdf/095.pdf
Short Review The first reference to the prototype Orbitrap from HD Technologies Ltd (UK).

Title Electrostatic Axially Harmonic Orbital Trapping: A High-Performance Technique of Mass Analysis
Source Anal. Chem., 72 (6), 1156 -1162, 2000;Alexander Makarov
DOI 10.1021/ac991131p
Short Review

The first comprehensive description of the "new" Orbitrap developed by Makarov from HD Technologies Ltd. in a research paper, showing the equipotentials of the quadro-logarithmic field and giving formulae for the stable ion trajectory. Examples for MALDI experiments are given.

Title A Method for the Neutralization of Electron Space Charge by Positive Ionization at Very Low Gas Pressures
Source Phys. Rev. 21, 408-418 (1923); K. H. Kingdon
DOI dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRev.21.408
Short Review This reasearch paper from 1923 describes the basic physical principles of the "Kingdon trap".

DOI WO02078046
Short Review The world patent of the Thermo Electron Finnigan LTQ ORBITRAP

Title Mass spectrometer
Source Alexander A. Makarov
DOI US 5,886,346
Short Review The HD Technologies "Orbitrap" patent filed in 1996 by A.A. Makarov.

Title The ideal mass analyzer: Fact or fiction?
Source Curt Brunnée
International Journal of Mass Spectrometry and Ion Processes
Volume 76, Issue 2, 1 June 1987, Pages 125-237
DOI 10.1016/0168-1176(87)80030-7
Short Review

This was one of the articles which influenced A. A. Makarov during the development of the new Orbitrap mass analyzer.

The review is a 113 page monster with numerous graphics and photos and an interesting connection to philosophy. The "mass spectrometer islands" graphics lacks of course the Orbitrap which was not invented yet.

Without blaming Elsevier (electronic distributions were not invented at this time), this a nice example of a great article which is and was buried on paper in a library. It is "only" cited 41 times were other articles about mass spectrometry can reach citations in the Hundreds.

Today is a unique and special day. Why? Ask yourself!
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