Quadrupole Ion Traps have been used for many years as part of molecular separations processes. Improvements in and new methods for use of this technology have recently made it possible to rapidly obtain high accuracy mass spectra from extremely small amounts of a sample. The speaker will discuss work which was essential to the analysis and improvement of ion trap devices and to refining the quality of the biochemical data they produce. Recent applications of ion traps have included the de novo sequencing of polypeptides (short proteins). Questions which arise naturally in ion trap applications require the use of combinatorics, solutions of partial differential equations (numerical and analytical), theory and methods from dynamical systems, and stochastic processes. However, the speaker will attempt to sweep mathematical details under the rug and identify the principles essential to the analysis and improvement of ion trap devices and to refining the quality of biochemical data they produce.
The speaker will outline some of the simply posed yet interesting mathematical problems surrounding the use of the data for protein sequencing, and a proposed solution method. He will also describe ion trap operation, its basis in mathematical instabilities, and some of the electromagnetic simulations used to understand operational characteristics. He will outline methods used for obtaining and validating high accuracy solutions to the potential equation in complex geometries, and for accelerating computations by bounding non-axisymmetric effects.