Summary of the characteristics of different mass analyzers
All mass spectrometers combine ion formation, mass analysis, and ion detection. This discussion is concerned with how various mass analyzers are used to separate ions according to their massto- charge ratio. Each mass analyzer has its own special characteristics and applications and its own benefits and limitations. The choice of mass analyzer should be based upon the application, cost, and performance desired. There is no ideal mass analyzer that is good for all applications. For an excellent and more complete discussion of mass analyzers, see "The Ideal Mass Analyzer: Fact or Fiction?" (Curt Brunnee, Int. J. Mass Spectrom. Ion Proc. 76 (1987), 125-237.
Note that different mass analyzers use different resolution definitions. See "How Resolution is Defined" for a discussion of this topic.
Note also that a complete discussion of MS/MS methods is beyond the scope of this essay, but some comments about MS/MS are provided here in the context of comparing different mass analyzers strengths and weaknesses.