Element’s Lab Solutions Division, a leading provider of instrumentation, automation and training for chromatography and mass spectrometry, has successfully completed the sale of the first Syft Tracer™ to the Open University. The purchase supports the university's expansion plans for its Wolfson Analytical Centre, aimed at advancing pioneering research endeavors. 

The Syft Tracer™ is the latest innovation in Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS), developed by Syft Technologies. With its trace gas detection capabilities, the Syft Tracer™ is equipped to address the most challenging analytical tasks across various industries and applications. Over several years, Element's Cambridge laboratory has collaborated with Syft Technologies to incorporate automation features into its products, enhancing efficiencies, reducing errors, and smaller sample testing. 

The new Syft Tracer™ introduces a novel automated sampler that Element played a pivotal role in developing. As part of its service, Element provides comprehensive training and support from its best-in-class analytical chemists to assist customers in fully leveraging the product.

In 2021, the Open University initially sought Element's expertise to assist with testing and studying the unique attributes of the Winchcombe meteorite. This celestial body, dating back 4.6 billion years, landed in the Cotswold hills of Gloucestershire, UK. Mark Perkins, Senior Applications Chemist at Element Cambridge, conducted a 15mg sample analysis that uncovered the presence of small organic molecules. The groundbreaking discovery suggests that essential chemical components, such as water and the building blocks of life, can potentially be transported to Earth by extraterrestrial rocks. The findings were subsequently published in Science Advances, garnering widespread media attention. 

The Wolfson Analytical Centre is a cutting-edge research facility dedicated to planetary, environmental, and space sciences, with a specific focus on addressing a fundamental question: "Are life and habitable environments unique to Earth?" The Syft Tracer, in conjunction with other resources within the center, will serve as a hub for both UK and international research teams. It will facilitate the investigation of samples from the Earth's surface, meteorites, and specimens retrieved from space missions.

Reflecting on the development, Mark Perkins from Element said: “I am proud that in the UK, we will be at the forefront of academic research aiming to understand many of the most important scientific questions we face. I was honored to work alongside the Open University during the Winchcombe meteorite analysis conducted at Element’s Cambridge laboratory. Moving forward, the University and many others will be able to make significant strides in the analysis of space-related fragments and materials using the Syft Tracer™.”

Damien Fischer, SVP at Syft Technologies added: “We’re thrilled that the next generation SIFT-MS will play such a pivotal role in better understanding the thread between materials found on earth and in space.  I’m excited to see what insights are unlocked by the Syft Tracer and where that leads the team at Open University to explore next.  We owe a debt of gratitude to our partners at Element for the role they’ve played in helping us to innovate new solutions that enable customers to answer questions that previously seemed out of reach.”

Element’s global Life Sciences division includes more than 1,400 scientists, chemists, and technologists working across a network of sites and laboratories to deliver complete and comprehensive scientific solutions that support customers’ end-to-end product development lifecycle from early R&D through complex regulatory approvals, into production and beyond. The division supports the global role that laboratory testing demands to make the world’s tomorrow safer than today.