In this recent publication, the Fernandez group described a robotic sample introduction/ionization system for mass spectrometry (MS) for spot analysis and imaging of non-planar surfaces. The system operates by probing the sample surface with an acupuncture needle, followed by direct plasma chemical ionization time-of-flight MS. They have termed this approach robotic plasma probe ionization-MS (RoPPI-MS). RoPPI-MS opens new avenues for examining irregularly-shaped samples such as rocks involved in prebiotic reactions in their native states without any perturbations.

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