Instrument Hub

Thermo Q-Exactive

Mass Spectrometer

The Thermo Q-Exactive is a high resolution, accurate mass instrument with UHPLC capabilities. It is used to separate mixtures and help identify the components.


The Thermo Scientific Q-Exactive hybrid quadrupole-orbitrap mass spectrometer combines high-performance quadrupole precursor selection with high-resolution, accurate-mass (HR/AM) Orbitrap detection. The Q-Exactive MS/MS data provides ultimate confidence for a wide range of qualitative and quantitative applications.

It is primarily used for non-targeted metabolomics projects, but can be used for any targeted projects. It performs similar functions to triple quadrupole mass spectrometers, but with greater mass accuracy for confident identification.



      • UHPLC for greater separation and smaller peak widths.
      • Mass accuracy ≥ 1 ppm
      • Alternating positive / negative ion scans in 1 injection.
      • The TLX trapping capability is unique in the university, and ideal for known compounds at low concentrations


Analysis for Q-Exactive data is supported by the following software:

  • Xcalibur – Targeted quantitation.
  • FreeStyle – Chromatogram display, mass spectra display, m/z possible formulas, formulas expected from mass spectra.
  • ExactFinder – m/z peak extraction, library and on-line database searches.
  • SIEVE – m/z peak extraction, alignment of chromatograms in hundreds of samples, normalisation, on-line database searching, PCA comparisons, p-values, 2D scatter plots of any variables for proteomics or metabolomics.

Access to the above software is available on the Q-Exactive Virtual Machine.


Email Eric Thorstensen for all enquiries related to the Thermo Q-Exactive MS.


For simple targeted analysis experiments, a Triple Quadrupole MS instrument is better suited (See Related Instruments).


This instrument is not suitable for analysis of inorganic materials. Samples must have very little salt in them (Na, K, Mg, Ca, etc).


Typically $54 per injection, with sample prep and data analysis charged on a time basis for UoA staff/students. Contact Eric Thorstensen for project costing.


Available for postgraduate students, doctoral candidates and staff of the University of Auckland. External and commercial users are also eligible to use the equipment.

Access Requirements

The Q-Exactive is housed on the Grafton campus in the Liggins Institute.


Arranged through Eric Thorstensen


Arranged through Eric Thorstensen