Benchmarking screening assays using ambient mass spectrometry

Nicholas Birse*, James A. Broadbent, Utpal Bose, Sarah Hamzelou, Joost L. D. Nelis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Ambient mass spectrometry (AMS) is a recent development in mass spectrometry, enabling the rapid analysis of samples with little or no sample preparation. These techniques can complement rapid screening assays such as smartphone-based techniques particularly well as it enables similar sample preparation techniques, while retaining access to the compound identifying capabilities of traditional mass spectrometry techniques. AMS provides an alternative to time-consuming traditional liquid and gas chromatography techniques coupled to mass spectrometry by removing sample preparation steps, such as extractions, concentrations, derivatisations and purifications and eliminating chromatography. This enables AMS techniques to be used as a high-throughput benchmark system for smartphone assays. AMS can follow either untargeted workflows for screening of samples to detect analytes of interest, including those which may be interfering with smartphone analysis, or by building upon targeted workflows to provide further information on the analytes of interest which are being analysed using smartphone tests.

This chapter introduces readers to a wide variety of new AMS techniques, as well as detailing some of the complications and issues which can arise with the use of AMS techniques, including the complexity, quantification accuracy and cost, issues that need to be born in mind when assessing the speed and ease of use that is inherent with many new AMS techniques. Additionally, the potential of coupling AMS with portable mass spectrometers as a portable mass spectrometry detection system is discussed while alternative very high-throughput novel laboratory-based systems that may complement chromatography-based mass spectrometry and replace it for a limited number of tasks in the laboratory are introduced. Overall, the chapter provides the reader with valuable insights in the potential of these upcoming mass spectrometry methods.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmartphones for chemical analysis: from proof-of-concept to analytical applications
EditorsJoost Laurus Dinant Nelis, Aristeidis S. Tsagkaris
PublisherElsevier B.V.
ISBN (Electronic)9780443134050
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameComprehensive Analytical Chemistry
ISSN (Print)0166-526X


  • Ambient MS
  • ASAP
  • Atmospheric MS
  • DART
  • DESI
  • Direct MS
  • Mass spectrometry
  • MS validation
  • Portable analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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