The instrument, consisting of a TOF (Time of Flight) analyzer and a MALDI (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization) source provides accurate information on the structure and molecular weight of biomolecules such as peptides, proteins, oligonucleotides and carbohydrates, as well as synthetic polymers.  Furthermore, through the PMF (Peptide MassFingerprinting) technique, it enables ultra-fast identification of the proteins separated by 2D electrophoresis.

The elute from in situ protein digestion, mixed with the matrix (organic acid), is deposited (1uL) on a steel target and left to crystallise before being transferred to the vacuum system.  A laser pulse extracts from the target the molecular ions, which are subsequently accelerated by an electrical field and cross the flight tube, enabling, after appropriate calibration, measurement of molecular weight.