Quadropule Ion Trap (QTrap)

The quadropule ion trap (QTrap) is a particular type of triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. Please refer to LC-MS-MS for a discussion on the triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. The Q-Trap adds the ability to conduct (precursor to product to secondary product ion scanning (or MS3) thus providing additional selectivity.

Ideal Uses

  • Similar to LC/MS/MS
  • Added degree of selectivity
  • Trace analysis in:
  • Environmental samples (i.e. soil, water, sediment)
  • Pharmaceutical analyses (i.e. active ingredient or impurity analyses)
  • Biological samples (i.e. crops, livestock tissues, milk, eggs, blood, urine)
  • Structure confirmation analyses
  • Direct injection MS/MS (no LC separation)
  • Analysis of compounds lacking UV chromophores
  • Updating existing methodology for higher specificity or sensitivity
Qtrap graphic


  • High specificity of detector. No need for confirmatory detection method
  • High sensitivity. Can detect some compounds below 1 part per trillion


  • Matrix co-extractants can suppression or enhance ionization potential. May need to employ matrix matched calibrants for quantitation.
  • Reproducibility is often not as good as LC-UV or other LC detectors.
  • Limited use for large molecules (> 4,000 m/z)

QTRAP Technical Specifications

  • Mass analysis of compounds with < ~ 4,000 m/z
  • Unit mass resolution
  • Can be used with reverse phase LC and normal phase LC

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