The TSQ Quantum XLS and TSQ Quantum GC are members of the TSQ Quantum™
family of Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers. The TSQ Quantum XLS and the
TSQ Quantum GC are advanced analytical instruments that include a mass spectrometer,
liquid chromatograph, and the Xcalibur™ data system.
In a typical analysis, an autosampler (AS) introduces a sample into the gas chromatograph
(GC). The GC separates the sample into its various components. The components elute from
the GC and pass into the mass spectrometer where they are analyzed.
The TSQ Quantum XLS and TSQ Quantum GC mass spectrometers include an electron
ionization/chemical ionization (EI/CI) ion source, ion optics, a triple-stage mass analyzer, and
an ion detection system—all of which are enclosed in a vacuum manifold. Ionization of the
sample takes place in the ion source. The specific process used to ionize the sample is known
as the ionization mode. The ion optics transmit the ions produced in the ion source into the
mass analyzer, where they are filtered according to their mass-to-charge ratio. The polarity of
the potentials applied to the lenses in the ion source and ion optics determines whether
positively charged ions or negatively charged ions are transmitted to the mass analyzer. You
can configure the mass spectrometer to analyze positively or negatively charged ions (called
the positive or negative ion polarity mode).
The mass spectrometer’s triple-stage mass analyzer performs either one or two stages of mass
• The mass spectrometer is operated as a conventional mass spectrometer with one stage of
mass analysis. The ion source ionizes the sample and the ion products are subjected to
mass analysis in the first rod assembly. The second and third rod assemblies transmit the
resulting mass-selected ions to the ion detection system.1
• The mass spectrometer is operated as a tandem mass spectrometer with two stages of mass
analysis. The ion source ionizes the sample and the ion products are mass analyzed by the
first rod assembly. In this case, however, mass-selected ions exiting the first rod assembly
collide with an inert gas in the second rod assembly and fragment to produce a set of ions
known as product ions. (A chamber called the collision cell surrounds the second rod
assembly. The collision cell can be pressurized with an inert gas.) The product ions
undergo further mass analysis in the third rod assembly to detect selected ions. Two stages
of mass analysis yield far greater chemical specificity than a single stage can achieve,
because of the system’s ability to select and determine two discrete but directly related sets
In a first stage of mass analysis, you can use the mass spectrometer to elucidate the structures
of pure organic compounds and the structures of the components within mixtures.
Furthermore, in a second stage of mass analysis, the mass spectrometer can fragment and
separate each ionic fragment of a molecule formed in the ion source to build up an entire
structure for the molecule, piece by piece. As a result, the TSQ Quantum XLS and the
TSQ Quantum GC systems make investigating all pathways for the formation and
fragmentation of each ion in the mass spectrum possible.
The two stages of mass analysis, with resultant reduction of chemical noise in the final mass
spectrum, allow for very selective and sensitive analysis.
Each sequence of single or triple-stage mass analysis of the ions is called a scan. The mass
spectrometer uses several different scan modes and different scan types to filter, fragment, or
transmit ions in the mass analyzer. Along with the ionization and ion polarity modes, the
ability to vary the scan mode and scan type affords you great flexibility in the instrumentation
for solving complex analytical problems.