Highly sensitive single-molecule detection of macromolecule ion beams

Marcel Strauß, Armin Shayeghi, Martin F.X. Mauser, Philipp Geyer, Tim Kostersitz, Julia Salapa, Olexandr Dobrovolskiy, Steven Daly, Jan Commandeur, Yong Hua, Valentin Köhler, Marcel Mayor, Jad Benserhir, Claudio Bruschini, Edoardo Charbon, Mario Castaneda, Monique Gevers, Ronan Gourgues, Nima Kalhor, Andreas FogniniMarkus Arndt (Corresponding author)

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


The analysis of proteins in the gas phase benefits from detectors that exhibit high efficiency and precise spatial resolution. Although modern secondary electron multipliers already address numerous analytical requirements, additional methods are desired for macromolecules at energies lower than currently used in post-acceleration detection. Previous studies have proven the sensitivity of superconducting detectors to high-energy particles in time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Here, we demonstrate that superconducting nanowire detectors are exceptionally well suited for quadrupole mass spectrometry and exhibit an outstanding quantum yield at low-impact energies. At energies as low as 100 eV, the sensitivity of these detectors surpasses conventional ion detectors by three orders of magnitude, and they offer the possibility to discriminate molecules by their impact energy and charge. We demonstrate three developments with these compact and sensitive devices, the recording of 2D ion beam profiles, photochemistry experiments in the gas phase, and advanced cryogenic electronics to pave the way toward highly integrated detectors.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadj2801
Number of pages9
JournalScience Advances
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 103033 Superconductivity
  • 103042 Electron microscopy

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