2018 Recipients: Gert von Helden, Martin F. Jarrold, and David E. Clemmer
Dr. Gert von Helden, Dr. Martin F. Jarrold, and Dr. David E. Clemmer are the recipients of the 2018 John B. Fenn ASMS Award for a Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry for their pioneering contributions to the development of ion mobility spectrometry (IMS).
Dr. von Helden made a major development in IMS when he applied it to the self-assembly of carbon in plasmas, and showed that carbon structurally evolved from linear chains to rings to fullerenes.Of critical importance, he used quantum chemical approximation methods to obtain model structures, adapted the little-known projection approximation method to obtain collision cross sections, and got excellent agreement with his experimentally measured cross sections. Soon after Dr. Jarrold applied similar IMS methods to silicon and aluminum assembly, and along with Dr. von Helden, showed that fullerenes are formed from activation of carbon ring systems, not C2 addition to graphitic fragments as Smalley had proposed. Dr. Jarrold went on to develop the first high-resolution instrument and, importantly, a more accurate method (the trajectory method) for obtaining collision cross-sections from complex structures such as biomolecules. While these fundamental developments were taking place, Dr. Clemmer realized that these new IMS methods could be utilized for analytical applications, and developed a new “nested” IMS-MS technology, which used ion trapping methods to dramatically increase signal-to-noise ratio and post-IMS dissociation to obtain fragmentation patterns of isomers (or conformers) in a single experiment. These ideas were later incorporated into highly successful commercial instruments, which have made advanced IMS methods available to thousands of labs around the world.