Distinguished Contribution

Award Nominations

Nominations are due November 30.  Please download form

2013 Recipient:  Richard Smith


The increasing role of mass spectrometry (MS) in the physical and biological sciences can be attributed in a large part to the versatility afforded by the growing number of ionization methods and to mass spectrometry’s increasing sensitivity. The development of the electrodynamic ion funnel in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Smith has been an important factor in the latter increase.

The ion funnel was originally created in the Smith lab in 1997 to replace ion transmission-limited skimmers and to efficiently capture ions in the expanding gas jet while radially focusing them. It has been adapted for a variety of uses and has proven to be a broadly applicable tool for ion focusing and manipulation at elevated pressures that challenged conventional approaches. Although it has undergone several iterations in the last 15 years, the defining features of the ion funnel have not changed: closely spaced ring electrodes of gradually decreasing inner diameter, out-of-phase RF potentials applied to adjacent electrodes, and a longitudinally-applied DC gradient. The ion funnel concept continues to be adapted in a growing number of applications such as ion trapping, ion cooling, low pressure electrospray, and ion mobility spectrometry; however, its original use, decreasing ion losses in the interface of high pressure sources, has remained its most prevalent. Currently, the funnel is employed by Bruker Daltonics’ and Agilent Technologies and similarities can be seen in Thermo-Fisher’s recent S-lens design found on the newer generations of Orbitrap instruments. In the ion funnel, Dr. Smith's obsession with sensitivity has provided a basis to greatly improve mass spectrometers, today allowing routine detection of low concentration species that would have been undetectable 15 years ago.

Dr. Richard Smith is Battelle Fellow and Chief Scientist in the Biological Sciences Division and Director of Proteomics Research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

Past Recipients


2012: Catherine C. Fenselau
2011: Robert J. Cotter
2010: Marvin L. Vestal
2009  Simon J. Gaskell and Vicki H. Wysocki
2008: Alexander Makarov
2007: Jesse L. (Jack) Beauchamp
2006: R. Graham Cooks
2005: James A. McCloskey
2004: Michael T. Bowers
2003: Fred McLafferty
2002: William Henzel, John Stults, Colin Watanabe
2001: George C. Stafford, Jr.
2000: Boris Aleksandrovich Mamyrin
1999: Melvin Comisarow and Alan G. Marshall
1998: David A. Dahl and Don C. McGilvery
1997: Franz Hillenkamp and Michael Karas
1996: Frank H. Field and Burnaby Munson
1995: Keith R. Jennings
1994: Donald F. Hunt
1993: Christie G. Enke and Richard Yost
1992: John B. Fenn
1991: Michael Barber
1990: Ronald D. Macfarlane