Ion Trap LC-MS

Full-scan sensitivity, in-depth MS/MS analysis

For a general-purpose mass spectrometer look no further than the Thermo Scientific Linear Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer. With new lower prices, Ion trap mass spectrometers are cost-effective and provide automation features which enable all users, despite expertise level, to be more confident in not only their results, but instrument operation skills. Learn more about ion trap mass spectrometry below or request assistance from one of our experts.

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How does an ion trap work?

Principles of operation

As the main RF voltage increases, ions of greater and greater mass-to-charge ratios eject through the slots in the linear trap. Ions are focused toward the ion detection system where they are detected.

Listen directly from our expert, Julie Horner, about the benefits of Ion Trap mass spectrometry for various applications.


Overview of our linear ion trap mass spectrometer

Performance Specifications For everyday affordability
LTQ XL Linear Ion Trap
LTQ XL Linear
Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer
Description Cost effective and flexible.
Sensitivity 250 fg Reserpine; 100:1 S/N
Linear Dynamic Range >4.5 orders of magnitude
Mass Ranges
  • m/z 15 -200
  • m/z 50 – 2000
  • m/z 200 - 4000
Resolution, scan speed and mass accuracy Peak Width (FWHM) Scan Rate (Da/Sec) Mass Accuracy (Da)
3 125,000 1.5
0.7 16,667 0.15
0.45 5,000 0.15
0.3 1,111 0.15
0.15 28 0.15
Application across multiple matrices
Proteomics Peptide Identification Ion Trap
Q Exactive Plus
Pharmaceutical Metabolism and Metabolite Identification Ion Trap
Q Exactive Plus
Untargeted Screening Ion Trap
Unknown Screening Ion Trap
Q Exactive Plus
Structural Elucidation and Confirmation Q Exactive Plus
Ion Trap
Quantitation   Q Exactive Plus
= Good = Better = Best
Structural Characterization LTQ XL

Collision Induced Dissociation (CID)

  • Resonance excitation of precursor at low q; low energy collisions with He
  • Universal, no tuning required, high efficiency
  • Low mass cutoff

Pulsed “q” Dissociation (PQD)

  • Short resonant excitation of precursor at high q, rapid shift to very low q, high energy collisions with He
  • Selective, no low mass cutoff, low noise
  • Tuning required, low efficiency

Higher Energy Collision Induced Dissociation (HCD)

  • Acceleration of ion packet through N2 cell, high energy collisions with N2
  • High efficiency, no low mass cutoff
  • Tuning required
Not Available


Key benefits of our ion trap mass spectrometers

Gain application flexibility

Achieve high quality full-scan and MS/MS analysis of samples quickly, and easily for running your application or for teaching students the fundamentals of mass spectrometry. Take control of your data using the efficient Thermo Scientific Xcalibur software which enables method set up, acquisition, processing and reporting.

Stretch your dollars

Take full advantage of new lower prices offered by the highest capacity, most flexible ion trap MS instruments on the market. We
offer customized service offerings with  Unity Lab Services designed to meet your service support needs.

Perform rapid MS analysis

PaperSpray technology is a direct ionization technique for analysis of small molecules from complex matrices such as blood or urine. Enables quick, sensitive and selective analysis from sample to mass spectrometer.


Product Support Bulletin: Scan Speed vs Cycle Time on an Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer

Application notes


Related systems

Triple Quadrupole LCMS


LC-MS webinar series

LC-MS webinar series

Expand your application knowledge

Our LC-MS on-demand webinar series expands your application knowledge for pharma, biopharma, environmental, omics, food, forensics and clinical research and more. Learn how the latest high-performance mass spectrometry solutions can enable your laboratory to solve your most pressing analytical challenges, regardless of sample type.