This Information Applies To: Agilent MassHunter data acquisition software and MassHunter Quantitative Data Analysis Software
This article explains the difference between quantifier and qualifier ions and provides some general guidance on quantifier and qualifier ion selection in Mass Spectroscopy.
The quantifier ion is used to determine your analyte response through calculation of either peak area or height after integration of the Extracted Ion Chromatogram (EIC).
This area is used to calculate the concentration after calibration.
Figure 1. Quantifier compound setup table in MassHunter showing the quantifier ion for each compound in the MZ column.
The qualifier ion is used to help identify your analyte, and to be sure that the measured peak is your analyte, not matrix, or anything else.
For this purpose, the EIC of the qualifier will be integrated and the area or height will be checked against the quantifier.
The ratio of quantifier and qualifier is known and the same without matrix or interferences per analyte. So if the ratio is ok you can be sure that your analyte is not affected by anything else.
Figure 2. Qualifier Ion selection in MassHunter
1. Selecting and adding qualifier ions to the compound table in MassHunter, 2. Repeating this process to add extra qualifier ions
Tips: Where possible, quantifier and qualifier ions should be higher masses, as higher masses generally are less affected by matrix.
All quantifier and qualifier ions should be specific for your analyte. Check your spectra ions against the molecule structure.
Check all chosen ions by analyzing matrix injections to check the effect of sample matrix on ion abundance. Sometimes the "perfect" quantifier ion is affected by matrix while the "not so perfect" ion is not.
Learn how to effectively operate your Agilent MassHunter software:
LCMS-MH-2152sc - How to Build a New Quantitative Method from MRM Data in MassHunter Quantitative Analysis with Cloud Laboratory e-learning course available from Agilent education