An orbitrap is an ion trap mass analyzer consisting of an outer barrel-like electrode and a coaxial inner spindle-like electrode that traps ions in an orbital motion around the spindle.The image current from the trapped ions is detected and converted to a mass spectrum using the Fourier transform of the frequency signal.
Alexander Alexeyevich Makarov is a Russian physicist who led the team that developed the Orbitrap, a type of mass spectrometer,Alexander started to deviate from this technology and made his first steps towards the concept of the Orbitrap mass analyzer.
Alexander’s proof-of-principle results were presented at the ASMS Conference and the term “Orbitrap analyzer” was used for the first time in 1999.
Following the acquisition of HD Technologies by Thermo Corporation in 2000, Alexander concentrated his research on interfacing the analyzer to continuous rather than pulsed ion sources with the practical goal of incorporating an electrospray ion source.
Progress in this direction was accelerated by the expansion of the research team as well as transfer of the project to Thermo Scientific’s Bremen factory in Germany. This resulted in the commercial release of a new LTQ Orbitrap tandem mass spectrometer in 2005 to the enthusiastic acceptance of the mass spectrometry community, especially by proteomics and metabolomics researchers.
Alexander continued to provide scientific guidance on the LTQ Orbitrap, along with additional product line extensions that include a single-stage mass spectrometer called the Exactive, released in 2008, and a tandem mass spectrometer called the Q Exactive along with the top-of-the-line Orbitrap Elite with the new compact high-field Orbitrap mass analyzer, both released in 2011.
Pursuing the strategic goal of bringing Orbitrap technology into new analytical applications previously inaccessible to mass spectrometry, Alexander continues to drive improvements of the technology. This is illustrated by the introduction of a new generation of Orbitrap analyzers and enhanced Fourier transform algorithms in 2011.
Throughout the years, Alexander has authored more than 40 papers and he holds more than 50 patents and patent applications.
Since 2006, Alexander has been living in Bremen with his family and he currently holds a position of Director of Research in Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry for Thermo Scientific.