Technical Support & Help Overview
e-MSion strives to provide timely and professional service and support. We are in the process of establishing a network of third party service providers to provide local support for customers in North America and Europe. In the mean time, we’re prepared to offer remote consultation & assistance and express shipping of parts to assist with your ExD Cell-related technical issues.
See below for answers to frequently asked questions and solutions to common technical issues. Please contact us if you have further questions.
Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
Does the ExD Cell affect parent instrument performance?
The parent instrument’s capabilities are minimally affected by installing the ExD Cell. In somes cases there is a slight loss or even gain in overall transmission after installing and optimizing the ExD Cell.
What does installation entail? How long does installation take? What are the installation requirements?
The actual hardware modification process takes about 30 minutes, not including the time it takes for venting, pump-down, and instrument benchmarking. The whole installation & verification timeframe is approximately 2 days. Please contact us to learn more about installation requirements.
Does the ExD Cell require any special maintenance? How often? How long do filaments last?
The ExD Cell is positioned deep enough into the parent instrument that major dirtying is not a significant issue. Filaments are considered a consumable and need to be replaced when they fail, or “burn out”. Under normal operating conditions, filaments have lasted at least several months in our test laboratory. The ExD Cell and controller software were designed with filament longevity in mind, and several features have been implemented to protect the filament from rapid changes in temperature and vacuum. Increasing filament lifespan without sacrificing ECD efficiency is one of our primary ongoing goals.
Who do I contact for instrument service and support, e-MSion, the original vendor, a third party?
At this time, please contact e-MSion directly for service and support inquiries. We are in the process of establishing a network of expert service providers to provide local support for customers in North America and Europe.
What is ExD? How is it related to ECD, ETD, EID, etc?
e-MSion uses “ExD” instead of “ECD” or “EID” to refer to the broad range of electron energies our Cell can produce. In the literature, “ExD” refers to a family of electron-based fragmentation technologies including low-energy (less than 3 eV) Electron Capture Dissociation (ECD), high-energy (3-20 eV) Electron-Induced Dissociation (EID), Electron Transfer Dissociation (ETD), Electron Detachment Dissociation (EDD), and negative ion ECD (niECD). EID is also sometimes split into Hot ECD (HECD) and Electron-Impact Excitation of Ion from Organics (EIEIO), depending on the electron energy being used. See Qi and Volmer. 2017. Electron-based Fragmentation Methods in Mass Spectrometry: An Overview. Mass Spectrometry Reviews 36, 4-15.
Is ExD compatible with all samples? Is there a minimum/maximum molecular weight that ExD will work with?
The ExD cell is designed to fragment polypeptides, although it can potentially be tuned to fragment glycans and lipids too. ECD efficiency theoretically increases with the square of ion charge, making the ExD Cell more efficient for large, multiply-charged proteins. In practice, noncovalent interactions limit the ability of ECD alone to dissociate folded proteins larger than ~30kDa. Denaturing conditions and/or supplemental vibrational excitation can be used to increase ECD efficiency in the case of large proteins. On the other end of the spectrum, the ExD Cell is capable of fragmenting short peptides, but efficiency is lower compared to large, multiply-charged proteins. For ECD, a minimum precursor charge of 2+ is required to detect product ions, because of charge neutralization upon electron capture. The ExD Cell can be tuned for EID to target singly-charged precursors and non-peptidic samples, at a lower efficiency.
Is the ExD Cell compatible with the separation technology I use?
The ExD cell has been successfully tested with HPLC/UPLC, capillary electrophoresis, and ion mobility separation technologies.
What types of ion source is the ECD compatible with?
The ExD Cell is compatible with all major ion sources. It can be tuned for positive or negative ion mode.
Which types of mass spectrometer is the ExD cell compatible with?
e-MSion currently only offers a commercial ExD Package for Agilent, Inc.’s Q-TOF family of mass spectrometers. We are working on making ExD Packages commercially available for Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Orbitrap QE family, and Waters Corporation’s G2 family of mass spectrometers. If you have one of these instruments and are interested in becoming an early adopter, please inquire via the Contact page.
What is the process for tuning the ExD cell? How often does the ExD cell need to be tuned? Do different analytes require different tunings?
One tune profile will work for most analytes. Small gains in ECD efficiency and/or transmission can usually be achieved by fine-tuning existing tune profiles for each different analyte. Tune profiles may drift slightly over time as the instrument accumulates residue and/or the filament becomes worn out.
Can ECD be automatically triggered on a per-scan basis?
Automatic ECD triggering based on instrument state (MS vs MS/MS) is possible via our controller software on Agilent Q-TOFs with the latest hardware and software configuration. We are working on implementing automatic ECD triggering for other platforms.
Can the ExD cell cause damage or harm if tuned improperly?
It’s unlikely for the ExD Cell or Power Supply to cause harm to itself, the parent instrument, or operators under normal operating conditions.
Does installation of the ExD cell void the parent instrument’s warranty?
We are working individually with OEMs to come to agreements on warranty and service protocols. Please contact us for more details.
Can the ExD cell be removed to revert to the default hardware configuration?
There are some cases in which a customer or service expert may wish to temporarily or permanently revert the ExD Cell installation. The “swap-out” design of the ExD Cell makes this possible and straight-forward, since all original parts are preserved at installation.