Franz Hillenkamp

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Franz Hillenkamp
Born(1936-03-18)March 18, 1936
Essen, Germany
DiedAugust 22, 2014(2014-08-22) (aged 78)
Münster, Germany
Known forLaser microprobe mass analyzer
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization
AwardsDistinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry (1997)
Thomson Medal (2003)
Karl Heinz Beckurts Award (2003)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Münster

Franz Hillenkamp (March 18, 1936 – August 22, 2014) was a German scientist known for his development of the laser microprobe mass analyzer[1][2] and, with Michael Karas, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI).[3][4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Franz Hillenkamp was born in 1936 in Essen, Germany. He attended high school in Lünen, graduating in 1955. He received a M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1961. He received a Ph.D. (Dr.-Ing.) from the Technische Universität München in 1966 with a thesis entitled “An Absolutely Calibrated Calorimeter for the Measurement of Pulsed Laser Radiation.”

Academic career[edit]

Hillenkamp was a professor at Goethe University Frankfurt in Frankfurt from 1982 to 1986. In 1986, he became a professor on the Medical Faculty of the University of Münster where he remained until his retirement in 2001.

Laser microprobe[edit]

In 1973, Hillenkamp developed a high performance laser microprobe mass spectrometer with a spatial resolution of 0.5 µm and sub-attogram limit of detection for lithium atoms.[6] This instrument was commercialized as the LAMMA 500[7] and was one of the first laser desorption mass spectrometers to be used for mass spectrometry imaging of tissue.[5] The later LAMMA 1000 was also based on a Hillenkamp design.[8]


In 1985, Hillenkamp and his colleague Michael Karas used a LAMMA 1000 mass spectrometer to demonstrate the technique of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI).[9] MALDI is an ionization method used in mass spectrometry, allowing the analysis of large biopolymers. Although Karas and Hillenkamp were the first to discover MALDI, Japanese engineer Koichi Tanaka was the first to use a similar method in 1988 to ionize proteins[10] and shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2002 for that work.[11] Karas and Hillenkamp reported MALDI of proteins a few months later.[12] The MALDI method of Karas and Hillenkamp subsequently became the much more widely used method.[13]


In 1997, Hillenkamp and Karas were awarded the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry award for their discovery of MALDI.[14] Hillenkamp and Karas received the Karl Heinz Beckurts Award, Germany's most important award for outstanding promotion of the partnership between science and industry, in 2003.[15][16] Hillenkamp received the Thomson Medal from the International Mass Spectrometry Foundation in 2003.[17]

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics created a postdoctoral fellowship in honor of Franz Hillenkamp. The SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship in Problem-Driven Biomedical Optics and Analytics offers an annual grant of US $75,000. This fellowship aims to facilitate the translation of cutting-edge biomedical optics and biophotonics technologies into practical applications within clinical settings, ultimately contributing to advancements in human healthcare.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hillenkamp, F.; Unsöld, E.; Kaufmann, R.; Nitsche, R. (1975). "A high-sensitivity laser microprobe mass analyzer". Applied Physics. 8 (4): 341–348. Bibcode:1975ApPhy...8..341H. doi:10.1007/BF00898368. ISSN 0340-3793. S2CID 135753888.
  2. ^ Denoyer, Eric.; Van Grieken, Rene.; Adams, Fred.; Natusch, David F. S. (1982). "Laser microprobe mass spectrometry. 1. Basic principles and performance characteristics". Analytical Chemistry. 54 (1): 26–41. doi:10.1021/ac00238a001. ISSN 0003-2700.
  3. ^ Franz Hillenkamp; Jasna Peter-Katalinic (27 February 2007). MALDI MS. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-3-527-61047-1.
  4. ^ Völker, Karin (2014-08-26). "Trauer um Biophysiker Franz Hillenkamp - Er verpasste den Nobelpreis" [Mourning biophysicist Franz Hillenkamp - He missed the Nobel Prize]. Westfälische Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  5. ^ a b Roepstorff, Peter (2014). "Franz Hillenkamp (1936-2014)". Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 53 (47): 12673. doi:10.1002/anie.201409504. ISSN 1433-7851. PMID 25331412.
  6. ^ Hillenkamp, Franz; UNSöLD, EBERHARD; Kaufmann, Raimund; Nitsche, Rainer (1975). "Laser microprobe mass analysis of organic materials". Nature. 256 (5513): 119–120. Bibcode:1975Natur.256..119H. doi:10.1038/256119a0. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 1152979. S2CID 4163087.
  7. ^ Vogt, H.; Heinen, H. J.; Meier, S.; Wechsung, R. (1981). "LAMMA 500 principle and technical description of the instrument". Fresenius' Zeitschrift für Analytische Chemie. 308 (3): 195–200. doi:10.1007/BF00479623. ISSN 0016-1152. S2CID 92151249.
  8. ^ Feigl, P.; Schueler, B.; Hillenkamp, F. (1983). "LAMMA 1000, a new instrument for bulk microprobe mass analysis by pulsed laser irradiation". International Journal of Mass Spectrometry and Ion Physics. 47: 15–18. Bibcode:1983IJMSI..47...15F. doi:10.1016/0020-7381(83)87125-3. ISSN 0020-7381.
  9. ^ Karas, M.; Bachmann, D.; Hillenkamp, F. (1985). "Influence of the Wavelength in High-Irradiance Ultraviolet Laser Desorption Mass Spectrometry of Organic Molecules". Anal. Chem. 57 (14): 2935–9. doi:10.1021/ac00291a042.
  10. ^ Tanaka, Koichi; Hiroaki Waki; Yutaka Ido; Satoshi Akita; Yoshikazu Yoshida; Tamio Yoshida; T. Matsuo (1988). "Protein and polymer analyses up to m/z 100 000 by laser ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry". Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 2 (8): 151–153. Bibcode:1988RCMS....2..151T. doi:10.1002/rcm.1290020802.
  11. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2002". The Nobel Foundation. 9 October 2002. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  12. ^ Karas M, Hillenkamp F (1988). "Laser desorption ionization of proteins with molecular masses exceeding 10,000 daltons" (PDF). Anal. Chem. 60 (20): 2299–301. doi:10.1021/ac00171a028. PMID 3239801. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-06-23.
  13. ^ Spinney, Laura (December 11, 2002). "Nobel Prize controversy". The Scientist. Archived from the original on May 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
  14. ^ Michael A. Grayson (2002). Measuring Mass: From Positive Rays to Proteins. Chemical Heritage Foundation. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-941901-31-4.
  15. ^ "Preisträger - Karl Heinz Beckurts-Stiftung Preisträger" [Karl Heinz Beckurts Foundation Award Winners] (in German). Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  16. ^ "Professoren Hillenkamp (Münster) und Karas (Frankfurt) erhalten Karl Heinz-Beckurts-Preis 2003" [Professors Hillenkamp (Münster) and Karas (Frankfurt) Receive Karl Heinz Beckurts Award 2003] (in German). Universität Münster. 2003-12-05. Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  17. ^ "ASMS members given top MS awards". Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. 14 (11): A33. 2003. doi:10.1016/S1044-0305(03)00743-8. ISSN 1044-0305. S2CID 192590730.

External links[edit]