Direct Mass Spectrometry of Chiral Molecules: MS-PECD

Our main mission at MassSpecpecD BV is the development of a novel laser-based analytical instrument for direct and ultra-sensitive Mass Spectrometric detection of the enantiomeric composition of chiral molecules. The new MS spectrometer employs laser-based PhotoElectron Circular Dichroism, PECD. This explains the last 4-letter part of our company's name, the capital letters S (Sinister) and D (Dexter) in our name reflect the two enantiomers in chiral molecules and are nicely placed Left and Right, MassSpecpecD. 

The novel chiral MS-instrument is marketed for commercial enterprises in the Food, Flavor & Fragrances, Pharmaceuticals and Agro-Chemicals Industries and for academic & research institutes in novel (analytical & medical) applications employing chiral molecules. 

    Latest news:

     Product Amsterdam Piezo Valve involved in Nobel Prize Physics 2023 Technology for Attosecond light pulses, Oct 2023

     Festschrift Ivan Powis: Advances in Molecular Photoelectron Spectroscopy: Fundamentals & Applications, January 2023

Progress report on novel micro-GC chiral-MS at Dutch annual Micro Nanotechnology conference, NL, November 2022

Progress report on novel micro-GC chiral-MS at Dutch annual AMO conference, NL, October 2022

Progress report on novel micro-GC chiral-MS at IMSC2022 Maastricht, NL, September 2022

MassSpecpecD BV and University of Twente start joint R&D project on micro de Laval nozzles, January 2020


     Innovation Award: 

      MS-PECD receives Innovation Award from the global business journal The Analytical Scientist.

      Listen and watch: 

      Introductory 10 minute lecture on MS-PECD at this link

      MS-PECD is developed, commercialized and marketed by MassSpecpecD BV, Enschede, the Netherlands.


Direct enantiomer-selective mass spectrometry of chiral mixtures by mass-selected photoelectron circular dichroism, Maurice H.M. Janssen and Ivan Powis, Current Trends in Mass Spectrometry 5, 16 (2017) pdf link Invited Perspective.

    What is MS-PECD ?

MS-PECD is a novel table-top technology enabling the enantiomer-specific analysis of multi-component mixtures of chiral molecules by direct Mass Spectrometry using correlated electron-ion imaging. A circular polarized pulsed laser ionizes the gaseous chiral molecules. The three-dimensional angular distribution of photoelectrons is measured on a time- and position sensitive particle detector. 

The forward-backward asymmetry of the electron angular distribution along the laser beam (Photo Electron Circular Dichroism, PECD) is measured on the electron imaging detector. The molecular ion is also detected in coincidence with the electron on a time-sensitive particle detector, providing the mass of the chiral molecule from the ion Time-of-Flight. Every electron is tagged by the mass of the ion that it originated from. The (electron,ion) correlation and the measured PECD provide a direct Mass Spectrometric indentification of the enantiomers present in the chiral mixture. The magnitude of the MS-PECD asymmetry of every molecule in the multi-component mixture scales directly to the enantiomeric excess of the compound.Advantages, capabilities and potential of MS-PECD 

Detailed information on the science, the technology and analytical applications is provided in the following publications:

Enantiomer-specific analysis of multi-component mixtures by correlated electron imaging–ion mass spectrometry

Mohammad M Rafiee Fanood, N. Bhargava Ram, C. Stefan Lehmann, Ivan Powis and Maurice H.M. Janssen

Nature Communications 6, 7511 (2015) pdf link 

Imaging photoelectron circular dichroism of chiral molecules by femtosecond multiphoton coincidence detection

C. Stefan Lehmann, N. Bhargava Ram, Ivan Powis, and Maurice H. M. Janssen

The Journal of Chemical Physics 139, 234307 (2013) pdf link 

Awarded the 2013 JCP Editors` choice for groundbreaking research in Chemical Physics.

Detecting chirality in molecules by imaging photoelectron circular dichroism

Maurice H.M. Janssen and Ivan Powis

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 16, 856 (2014) pdf link

Invited Perspective.

For a historic review of the development of laser-based MS-PECD see the special technology page at this link.

Recent citations to review papers on laser-based and synchrotron-based PECD:

Review on Laser-based PECD by Janssen and Powis, PhysChemChemPhys: Google Scholar citations

Review on Synchrotron-based PECD by Nahon, Garcia and Powis, J. of Elec. Spec. & Rel. Phen.: Google Scholar citations