Omics2Image (O2I) is a biotechnology start-up, founded in 2012. The company closely collaborates with its founding partners AMOLF and Nikhef. O2I already brought a pixelated mass spectrometry detector, the IonPix camera, to the market in 2012. The detector is employable for a wide range of applications, including mass spectrometry, neutron imaging and electron microscopy.

In the mass spectrometry industry, little true innovation has taken place at the detector end for decades. The conventional way of acquiring data has become the golden standard but research is demanding more. For example in the field of biochemistry, where clear detection of large molecular weight (LMW) compounds become increasingly relevant. This requires a high sensitivity in the LMW domain, often proving difficult for existing detectors. Another example is the acquisition of spatial resolution. This requires much time at present, because microprobe mode ionization in MALDI TOF systems results in collecting one integral spectrum per spot. Also the spatial resolution is limited and imaging of LMW compounds is not straightforward.

O2I is destined to change this limitation of mass spectrometry detectors, with its innovative IonPix camera. The core of this camera consists of a chip that has been developed by a CERN collaboration. This chip consists of 256×256 ‘smart’ pixels, each having its own dedicated electronics. This enables each pixel to operate independently, and therefore act as an individual detector. The chip is mounted in a quad configuration, resulting in over ¼ million smart pixels. When fitted to a mass spectrometer, the IonPix camera enables researchers to get more information out of their experiments. A high-resolution detection of LMW compounds, such as proteins or antibodies is enabled by the digital nature of the detector providing a higher selectivity, because noise thresholds and acquisition timing can be adjusted. Fast imaging is now possible because the detector acquires more than ¼ million spectra during each ionization. When combined with MALDI microscope-mode ionization, which ionizes a very large surface of your sample, the detector can create multiple mass images in the square millimetre range in just a matter of hours.

The IonPix detector is compatible with almost all MS-TOF systems from leading manufacturers such as Bruker, Applied Biosystems and Shimadzu and with PHI SIMS instruments. Omics2Image currently offers customers retrofit services to install the detector on existing systems.

The data provided by the IonPix camera can be read with the in-house developed software SoPhy. O2I has developed this software together with its partner company Amsterdam Scientific Instruments B.V. SoPhy is application specific software, to control customers’ experiments and data collection, facilitating post-processing and data analysis.

The mission of the company is to keep developing next generation mass spectrometry detectors for a wide range of applications. This is done by our highly experienced team, guided by professor and co-founder dr. Ron Heeren, in close collaboration with our partners.