What does it mean to be the next generation?
You don’t have to look far to find the term “next-generation” or “NextGen” used to describe new technology. But what does it mean to describe a product or service as next-generation? The article Real Words or Buzzwords?: Next Generation (NextGen) helps clarify what should be expected of products when using this label. Simply labeling the next product in a series “next-generation” not only confuses but also does a disservice to the nature of the term. Next-generation products should be new and superior to previous products/competitors. Seems obvious enough, but to truly live up to expectations such products should also be disruptive. They should ideally result in a paradigm shift in performance and/or user interaction beyond what was considered reasonable for the previous generation. So, the next requirement for saying next-generation is to actually have previous-generation products.
Generations of nano-, capillary- and micro-flow LC products
The first generation is usually the first product or technology that was developed. The UltiMate nano-, capillary- and micro-flow HPLC system introduced in 1998 is the first generation of low-flow LC systems dedicated to mass spectrometry analysis. It showed the full range of possibilities while combining nanoLC separation with MS detection.
The next breakthrough in technology happened with the development of splitless pump technologies in EASY-nLC and UltiMate 3000 RSLCnano platforms in 2007-2009. The second generation of low-flow LC systems was able to deliver nano-flow rates with high precision and accuracy. Combined with fingertight fitting systems nano-flow LC became the mainstream technology in high-sensitivity discovery proteomics. The update of these platforms in 2015 and 2016 extended the capabilities and revealed increased requirements towards the robust analysis of large sample cohorts.
Next-generation nano-, capillary- and micro-flow UHPLC system
The introduction of the Thermo Scientific Vanquish Neo UHPLC system in 2021 marks the beginning of the third generation. The set of innovative technologies and design decisions deliver standardization, robust performance, and productivity required to transform proteomics into a routine quantitative tool. The intelligent system operation makes high-sensitivity LC-MS analysis accessible now not only to experts but also to novice LC-MS users focused on answering critical biological questions.
The Evolutionary Journey of LC-MS for Proteomics is inspiring for discoveries enabled by technological innovation.