Non-targeted Environmental Screening: The Theory and Applications of Quadrupole Time of Flight (QTOF) Mass Spectrometry

Oral Presentation

Prepared by R. Haufler1, P. Winkler2
1 - Sciex, 71 Four Valley Drive, Concord, ON, L4K4V8, Canada
2 - Sciex, 500 Old Connecticut Path, Framingham, MA, 01701,

Contact Information:; 647-339-9030


Improvements in the design of QTOF instrumentation have led to a resurgent interest in the application of high-resolution mass spectrometry for routine analytical applications. Traditionally, high-resolution instruments have been much more expensive than quadrupole instruments, have had less linear dynamic range and were more complicated to operate on a routine basis. However, these obstacles are being rapidly overcome by analytical instrumentation manufacturers. This evolution has created an increased interest in high-resolution applications in the area of non-targeted analysis, first in the area of food safety and now in the realm of environmental monitoring.

The scope of this presentation is to discuss the theory and design of modern QTOF instruments. Data will be presented that demonstrate the analytical data quality advantages that high-resolution instruments are beginning to make available to practitioners of routine environmental analysis. In addition, data demonstrating analytical figures of merit such as sensitivity, linearity, mass accuracy and precision will also be shown. Finally, we will present a speculative vision of how potential future developments in QTOF technology could enable more widespread high-resolution applications for routine environmental monitoring.