Fast atom bombardment

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Fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry
FAB MS.jpg
ThermoQuest AvantGarde MS with quadrupole detector and FAB/EI source.
Acronym FAB
Classification Mass spectrometry
Other techniques
Related Secondary ion mass spectrometry
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization
Plasma desorption mass spectrometry

Fast atom bombardment (FAB) is an ionization technique used in mass spectrometry.[1][2][3][4] When used in mass spectrometry, the method is also known as liquid secondary ion mass spectrometry.[5] The material to be analyzed is mixed with a non-volatile chemical protection environment called a matrix and is bombarded under vacuum with a high energy (4000 to 10,000 electron volts) beam of atoms. The atoms are typically from an inert gas such as argon or xenon. Common matrices include glycerol, thioglycerol, 3-nitrobenzyl alcohol (3-NBA), 18-Crown-6 ether, 2-nitrophenyloctyl ether, sulfolane, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine. This technique is similar to secondary ion mass spectrometry and plasma desorption mass spectrometry.

How it works[edit]

FAB is a relatively soft ionization technique and produces primarily intact protonated molecules denoted as [M+H]+ and deprotonated molecules such as [M-H]-. The nature of its ionization products places it close to electrospray and MALDI.[6]

The first example of the practical application of this technique was the elucidation of the amino acid sequence of the oligopeptide efrapeptin D. This contained a variety of very unusual amino acid residues.[7] The sequence was shown to be: N-acetyl-L-pip-AIB-L-pip-AIB-AIB-L-leu-beta-ala-gly-AIB-AIB-L-pip-AIB-gly-L-leu-L-iva-AIB-X. PIP = pipecolic acid, AIB = alpha-amino-isobutyric acid, leu = leucine, iva = isovaline, gly = glycine. This is a potent inhibitor of the mitochodrial ATPase activity.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morris HR, Panico M, Barber M, Bordoli RS, Sedgwick RD, Tyler A (1981). "Fast atom bombardment: a new mass spectrometric method for peptide sequence analysis". Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 101 (2): 623–31. doi:10.1016/0006-291X(81)91304-8. PMID 7306100. 
  2. ^ Barber, M.; Bordoli, R.S.; Sedgewick, R.D.; Tyler, A.N., Nature, 293, 1981, pp270-275
  3. ^ Barber, M.; Bordoli, R.S.; Elliott, G.J.; Sedgewick, R.D.; Tyler, A.N., Analytical Chemistry, 54, 1982, pp645A-657A.
  4. ^ Barber M, Bordoli RS, Sedgewick RD Tyler AN (1981). "Fast atom bombardment of solids (F.A.B.): a new ion source for mass spectrometry". Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications (7): 325–7. doi:10.1039/C39810000325. 
  5. ^ "Fast Atom Bombardment." The University of Maryland Chemistry Department. N.p., 2009. Web. 16 May 2014. <>.
  6. ^ Tomer KB (1989). "The development of fast atom bombardment combined with tandem mass spectrometry for the determination of biomolecules". Mass Spectrometry Reviews 8 (6): 445–82. doi:10.1002/mas.1280080602. 
  7. ^ Bullough,D.A., Jackson C.G.,Henderson, P.J.F., Cottee, F.H.,Beechey,R.B. and Linnett, P.E. Biochemistry International (1981) 4, 543-549


  • Caprioli, R. M. (1990). Continuous-flow fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry. New York: Wiley. ISBN 0-471-92863-1. 

External links[edit]