Mass spectrometry is a chemical analysis and detection tool that has been around for 130 years. In that time there have been so many tweaks and improvements that observers have become a bit blasé about the next big leap in its development.
But the latest improvement out of the Georgia Institute of Technology may be the biggest yet for the venerable old analytical tool. In research described Nature Nanotechnology, the Georgia Tech researchers have managed to make mass spectrometry more sensitive than ever before, more portable, cheaper and even safer. All of these advancements were accomplished by replacing the direct current power source typically used as power source with triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs). You can see a demonstration of the technology at work in the video below.