Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mass Spectrometer Info

This is incomplete research, but it's better than nothing. Perhaps others can use this for hints.

In the Sunday and Wednesday FFF road shows, there were references to the spectrometer apparently being run out of specification, and with old software/firmware that may present accuracy problems.

The two slides that give hints to this are this about the software:

And this about pressures:

I don't see anything clearly matching the Ion XP software, but MassLynx seems to come from; Waters Corp divested Micromass in 2003 to GV instruments, who appears to be the current vendor of the IsoChrom and IsoPrime devices. The IsoPrime instrument is described here.

There is news at the site about the instruments being used in doping control:

Latest News...

Stable Isotopes in Sports Doping (Feb 06)
Following on from GV's success in supplying IsoPrimes to Athens for the 2004 Olympics, we have received a series of orders from around the world (France, Spain, India and Korea) for instruments to be used in the identification of banned substances in sports. We think this is a reflection of the acceptance of this technique by the IOC for Olympic events. It is very likely the technique will be accepted by other sporting bodies and it will be a common feature in international and national sports events around the world.

Manuals and support information appear to require a login.

There is also an Optima family of spectrometers, apparently from Perkin-Elmer, which has a software version page that doesn't go back to 1.67-X

If I read the history right, the Optima was designed by some of the people who went on to GV through a tortured path. It is possible that LNDD has an old Optima device that has not had it's firmware updated, and some newer IsoPrime units.

Corrections and additions are welcome


Anonymous said...

ORG here ...


I posted this on Rant's site after reading his latest. It also fits well here, So I'll copy to get further input/ideas:


In Landaluze, the same technician performed the a- and b-sample analysis so the case was thrown out. The LA Times says the same thing might have happened here, except this time it was the same two technicians on both a- and b-.

Here’s my thought, the LNDD only has one, or maybe two, that know how to use the IRMS machine. They have been using it wrong for a while and no one else in the lab is in a position to know this.

If indeed the number of qualified people is one (maybe the second in the Landis case was being trained), then one can see how the mistakes described here could very have been made. All they know is what the previous technician taught them, which was incomplete. And like tales from your elders, information/knowledge gets lost everytime the story is told to the next generation. So along the line, the manuels were lost, someone forgot to tell them to update the software, and/or the information about the proper pressure settings was not passed along.

Do we know the name of the lab technician in the Landaluze case? Is it one of the two lab technicians named in the LA Times?

Do we know how many IRMS tests the LNDD does in a year? If so, is it low enough to say that one or two full-time lab technican(s) could have done all these tests? If it is one, who trained them? Was it another lab technician that was leaving the lab so they sat down with the current technician, showed them what to do, and quit?

(Side note: I seem to remember an issue of the b-sample having to be done before the lab closed for its August holiday. I remember thinking this case was so important that they should have made an exception if it got to this. Maybe the problem was this one/two technician(s) was going on holiday, was over-worked like the arbs in the Landaluze case noted, and was having none of canceling their vacation (yet again?) to look at some American’s pee. Especially if the Lab was not going to reimburse them for their holiday plans if they asked them to cancel.)

Again, thinking out loud. Thoughts/ideas?