Chemistry and Biochemistry

Daniel E. Austin

Daniel Austin

Office: C310 BNSN
Office Phone: 801-422-1551
Lab Room: C249 BNSN
Lab Phone: 801-422-5933
Office Hours


BS, Brigham Young University, summa cum laude and University Honors (1998)

PhD, Physical Chemistry, California Institute of Technology (2003)

Senior Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories (2002-2005)

Curriculum Vitae


The Austin Lab Group explores novel instrumentation and applications based on mass spectrometry.

There is significant drive to make mass spectrometers sufficiently small and portable that they can be carried to the sample, rather than bringing samples into the lab for analysis. The Austin Lab Group has accordingly pioneered the approach of making mass analyzers using lithographically patterned plates. The Group has made miniaturized radiofrequency quadrupole, toroidal, and linear ion traps using this approach, as well as an electrostatic ion beam trap. The Group is  also developing charge detector arrays for mass analysis using patterned plates. The use of patterned plates rather than machined electrodes reduces cost while improving the precision and alignment of the electric field.

The Austin Lab Group also studies electrospray charging of micron-scale particles. Using mobility experiments we have demonstrated that bacterial spores can survive electrospray charging and desolvation. These spores can subsequently survive impacts against a dense surface at surprisingly high impact speeds. The Group has also demonstrated that electrospray can be used to electrically charge a variety of mineral types, including quartz, olivine, and chondrite. Electrically charging mineral grains may enable accelerating these particles to high velocities for laboratory simulations of cosmic dust impacts.

The Group has recently published an article on crash testing bacteria at 670 mph in the lab to see if spores could survive space travel. Check out the video below for more information.


Recent Publications

Gustafson, E.L.; Murray, H.V.; Caldwell, T.; Austin, D.E. Accurately Mapping Image Charge and Calibrating Ion Velocity in Charge Detection Mass Spectrometry. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 2020, 31, 2161-2170.

Gao, J.; Austin, D.E. Mechanistic Investigation of Charge Separation in Electrospray Ionization using Microparticles to Record Droplet Charge State. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 2020, 31, 2044-2052.

Gamage, R.W.; Austin, D.E. The effects of electrode misalignments on the performance of a miniaturized linear wire ion trap mass spectrometer. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 2020, 453, 116344. (winner of 2020 IJMS Best Student paper Award)

Muyizere, T.; Zheng, Y.; Liu, H.; Zhao, J.; Li, J.; Lu, X.; Austin, D.E.; Zhang, Z.P. Metal Salt Assisted Paper Spray Mass Spectrometry for Soft Ionization of GAP Polymers in Negative Ion Mode. Analyst 2020, 145, 34-45.

Li, J.; Zheng, Y.; Zhao, J.; Austin, D.E.; Zhang, Z.P. Matrix-Assisted Nanoelectrospray Mass Spectrometry for Soft Ionization of Metal(I)-Protein Complexes. Analyst 2020, 145, 1646-1656. 

Avval, T.G.; Gamage, R.W.; Maehl, S.; Fairley, N.; Austin, D.E.; Linford, M.R. Application of Laplace’s equation in comparing the electric potentials of hemispherical and cylindrical energy analyzers. Vacuum Technology and Coating, 2020, 21(10), 34−37.

Song, Y.; Rosza, J.; Magalhaes, J.; Smith, S.; Karlinsey, B.; Kinnison, W.; Gustafson, E.; Austin, D.E.; Hawkins, A.R.; Chiang, S.H. A Solid-State Charge Detector with Gain Calibration Using Photocurrent.  IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, 2020, 69, 9398-9407.

Rosza, J.; Song, Y.; Webb, D.; Debaene, N.; Kerr, A.; Gustafson, E.L.; Caldwell, T.; Murray, H.V.; Austin, D.E.; Chiang, S.W.; Hawkins, A.R.  Simulation and measurement of image charge detection with printed-circuit-board detector and differential amplifier.  Review of Scientific Instruments, 2020, 91, 053302.

Rosza, J.; Song, Y.; Webb, D.; Debaene, N.; Kerr, A.; Gustafson, E.L.; Caldwell, T.; Murray, H.V.; Austin, D.E.; Chiang, S.H.; Hawkins, A.R. A Verified Simulation Method for Image Charge Detection with Non-cylindrical Electrodes. IEEE Transactions, 2020, 91, 053302.

Complete List of Publications


Izatt-Christensen Faculty Excellence in Research Award, 2020

Curt Brunnée  Award, International Mass Spectrometry Foundation, 2018 

Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award, BYU, August 2017

American Society for Mass Spectrometry Research Award, June 2008

Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Society Research Award, March 2007

Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Fellowship, 2000-2002

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 1998-2001

Dow Chemical Company Graduate Fellowship, 2001

Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, 1997-1998