Editor: Pawel L. Urban
In the twenty first century, quantitative aspects of chemical science have become more important than ever before. Mass spectrometry (MS) is one of the main analytical platforms used by chemists. Mass spectrometers separate gas-phase ions according to their mass-to-charge ratios (m/z), enabling highly selective detection and characterization of atoms and molecules. However, quantitative analyses by MS are rarely straightforward. The past developments in various stages of MS workflows allow one to attain quantitative or semi-quantitative results in many (but not all) cases. These stages include: sample preparation and introduction, separation and ionization of analytes, as well as separation and detection of gas-phase ions. Smart MS interfaces facilitate seamless monitoring of various analyte species, even without prior chromatographic or electrophoretic separation.
Progress has been made in quantitative determinations of individual elements, their isotopes, small molecules as well as large molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids. This theme issue provides perspectives from several academic groups and industrial scientists who share their knowledge and enthusiasm about quantitative MS. The opinion and review articles provide background information on a variety of MS sub-fields, while the original papers demonstrate examples of challenging problems tackled with the aid of the cutting-edge MS technology. The multinational authorship of the issue contributions highlights the global interest in quantitative MS.
Cover image: Created by E.P. Dutkiewicz and P.L. Urban
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