About us

In 2020 at Amsterdam Science Park we did research on innovative nanotech spray nozzles, consisting of a small silicon chip with nanometer sized holes. The nozzle fits a small syringe, and when pressurized makes a very fine spray. We discovered that when you spray a poorly conductive liquid, the droplets automatically become charged, with spray droplets clearly repelling each other due to the electrostatic forces, completely changing the shape of the spray plume; wow that looks interesting! How can such a small nozzle have such a huge charging effect, that you normally only see in electro sprays with a kilovolt electric supply? Also, could this spray be used as an ionization source for a mass analyser, as charging and dispersion of the sample liquid is simultaneously achieved?

By collaborating with the chemistry department, we quickly tried this new ionization source, and guess what? With already the first experiment we had a clear mass spectrum. The chemists were enthusiastic and surprised, can it be that simple? No need for cleaning or setting up any device, just fill a syringe with the sample liquid, attach the nozzle, spray towards the inlet of the mass spectrometer, and voilá a mass spectrum. This sounds so easy that it is hard to believe it really works like this. We went on by testing different solvents and solvent mixtures, different chemicals; it all worked fantastic and we compared our results with current ionization sources, such as electrospray, to discover that the mass spectra are the same.

To understand and utilize this effect, we started an eleborated investigation into the working mechanisms for such electroless ionization, the results of this research have been published in 2022 (Scientific Reports). With the acquired knowledge, we also found a way to produce nozzles that charge with the opposite polarity when the same liquid is used, an important step in making the ionization technology broadly applicable.

As with any new development, we are constantly exploring new research ideas and trying to improve our products. More information and details on the spray nozzles can be found here.