News


Sale of Amsterdam Piezo Valve now exclusively via MassSpecpecD BV

posted Jul 10, 2015, 4:45 AM by Maurice Janssen   [ updated Jul 10, 2015, 4:49 AM ]

As of 1 July 2015 the full marketing and sales of the Amsterdam Piezo Valve is done by MassSpecpecD BV in an exclusive collaboration with Electronica Beta and Mechanical Engineering VU University Amsterdam. 
See also www.massspecpecd.com and www.amsterdampiezovalve.com for further information.

Breakthrough Technique Accurately Detects the ‘Handedness’ of Molecules

posted Jun 25, 2015, 12:52 AM by Maurice Janssen   [ updated Jun 25, 2015, 1:12 AM ]

A new technique that can determine whether a molecule is present in a left- or right-handed form may have a multitude of practical applications, potentially leading to new and improved drugs, diagnosis methods, and pesticides. Scientists have demonstrated for the first time the ability to rapidly, reliably and simultaneously identify the ‘handedness’ of different molecules in a mixture. The research, led by chemists at the VU University Amsterdam and the University of Nottingham, and published in the academic journal Nature Communications (24 June 2015), could offer a new technique to easily distinguish whether a molecule is present in a left- or right-handed form. The breakthrough could be important in developing effective molecules for use in a wide range of industries — everything from the development of safer new drugs and disease diagnosis to less toxic pesticides.

Many molecules exist in forms which are essentially identical, apart from being exact mirror images of one another. It is common for these so-called chiral molecules to exist in just one form in biological systems, although scientists still don’t fully understand why. For example, although both forms of amino acid molecules — the building blocks of life itself — can be made in the laboratory, in nature they only occur in the left-handed form. The chirality of these biomolecules also strongly affects the way in which they interact with other molecules, for instance with chiral drugs. Presently, more than 50 per cent of all drugs produced are active in only one of their two handed forms.

The latest research demonstrates a rapid new technique that can be used to identify the handedness of chiral molecules with more tangible effects and a greater degree of accuracy. Mass-Selected PhotoElectron Circular Dichroism (MS-PECD) uses circularly polarised light produced by a laser to ionise the molecules — using a couple of photons to knock an electron out of the chiral molecule to leave a positively charged ion behind.By tracking the direction that the electrons take when they travel out of the molecule — either forwards or backwards along the laser beam — it is possible to distinguish between left and right handed molecules with an accuracy of up to several tens of per cent rather than a fraction of a per cent.

For the full press release in English see here at the University of Nottingham.

For the full press release in Dutch by SciTechAdvisors see here (pdf).

The full paper in Nature Communications June 2015 can be accessed as OPEN ACCESS.

MassSpec-PECD website is up

posted Jun 10, 2015, 4:38 AM by Maurice Janssen   [ updated Jun 10, 2015, 4:41 AM ]

We have created a special website to highlight the novel technique for the detection of chiral molecules called Mass Spectrometric PhotoElectron CircularDichroism (MS-PECD). MS-PECD provides direct Mass Spectrometric detection of chiral molecules and does not need any prior enantiomeric separation.

Chiral molecules or of utmost importance in the pharmaceutical industry, the flagrance and odeur industry and in agriculture. More than half of all drugs that are produced worldwide are chiral, and detection of the enantiomeric purity of drugs during research and production is warranted by regulatory agencies like the FDA.

The website www.massspecpecd.com provides detailed information on the science and technological implementation of MS-PECD.

Amsterdam Piezo Valve website

posted May 16, 2015, 5:09 AM by Maurice Janssen   [ updated May 16, 2015, 5:09 AM ]


The exclusive collaboration between SciTechAdvisors and LaserLaB Amsterdam to market the Amsterdam Cantilever Piezo Valve has started. On the website www.amsterdampiezovalve.com all the information on the valve and the specifications are available. The valve has already been purchased by more than 40 leading research groups in top institutes in Germany, England, France, USA, Japan, China, South-Korea, Canada. For some recent publications on the state-of-the-art research performed by customers with this valve see here.

25th Unit of Amsterdam Cantilever Piezo Valve Sold

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:16 PM by Maurice Janssen   [ updated May 16, 2015, 5:22 AM ]

In December 2012 the 25th unit of the Amsterdam Cantilever Piezo Valve was sold to a National Laboratory in USA.The Piezo Valve was developed by the group of prof. Maurice Janssen at LaserLaB Amsterdam in close collaboration with both the Mechanical and Electronics shop of the Faculty of Sciences, in particular mr. Rob Kortekaas, mr. Mario Molenaar and mr. Han Voet. The valve enables the production of intense and very short pulses of gas at high repetition rate. The instrument was developed for research at LaserLaB and reported in the literature (Rev. Sci. Instruments 80, 113303, 2009). It was decided to commercialize the instrument and the valve has now been sold to groups all over Europe, USA, China and Japan. Prof. Janssen remarked: “It is extremely rewarding that a key instrument that we developed for our own research is available to outside users. I am very pleased that leading laboratories all over the world, e.g. various Max Planck Institutes and Synchrotron facilities in Germany, Switzerland and USA, have decided to purchase our instrument. The excellent collaboration with the technical support shops of the Faculty of Sciences of VU University Amserdam makes this successful valorization project possible.


press release Janssen

Novel table-top laser based mass spectrometer for detecting chiral molecules

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:11 PM by Maurice Janssen   [ updated May 16, 2015, 5:41 AM ]



Detection of molecular chirality with high sensitivity and selectivity is important for many analytical and practical applications. Photoionization has emerged as a very sensitive probe of chirality in molecules. We show here that a table top setup with a femtosecond laser and a single imaging detector for both photoelectrons and photoions enables detection of chirality up to 3 orders of magnitude better than the existing conventional absorption based techniques.


N. Bhargava Ram, C. S. Lehmann and M. H. M. Janssen
Probing chirality with a femtosecond reaction microscope

Reported in XVIIITH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ULTRAFAST PHENOMENA, Ecole Polytechnique Fed Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, SWITZERLAND, Date: JUL 08-13, 2012 

Book Series: EPJ Web of Conferences Volume: 41, DOI: 10.1051/epjconf/20134102029

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