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

Barney, B.; Austin, D.E. Kinetic energy loss of bouncing Bacillus subtilis spores determined using image-charge detection, Journal of Biological Physics, in press.

Tian, Y.; Decker, T.K.; McClellan, J.S.; Bennett, L.; Li, A.; De la Cruz, A.; Andrews, D.;Lammert, S.A.; Hawkins, A.R.; Austin, D.E. Improved miniaturized linear ion trap mass spectrometer using lithographically patterned plates and tapered ejection slit, Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, in press.

Li, A.; Higgs, J.; Austin, D.E. Chaotic motion of single ions in a toroidal ion trap mass analyzer, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, in press.

Wang, T.; Zheng, Y.; Wang, X.; Austin, D.E.; Zhang, Z.P. Sub-ppt Mass Spectrometric Detection of Therapeutic Drugs in Complex Biological Matrices Using Polystyrene- Microsphere-Coated Paper Spray, Analytical Chemistry, in press.

Austin, D.E. and Lammert, S.A. “Mass Analyzer Miniaturization,” in the Encyclopedia of Mass Spectrometry, vol 7. Elsevier, in press.

Wang, T.; Zheng, Y.; Wang, X.; Wang, Q.; Ke, C.-Y.; Austin, D.E.; Han, X.; Zhang, Z. Abnormal Adsorption and Desorption Behaviors of Pharmaceutical Drugs on Polystyrene Microspheres, Advances of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2017, 7 (32), 19639-19644.

Wu, Q.H.; Li, A.; Tian, Y.; Decker, T.; Hawkins, A.R.; Austin, D.E. A miniaturized linear wire ion trap with electron ionization and single photon ionization sources, Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 2017, 28, 859-865.

Wu, Q.H.; Li, A.; Tian, Y.; Zare, R.N.; Austin, D.E. Miniaturized Linear Wire Ion Trap Mass Analyzer, Analytical Chemistry, 2016, 88, 7800-7806.

Barney, B.; Pratt, S.N.; Austin, D.E. Survivability of bare, individual Bacillus subtilis spores to high-velocity surface impact: implications for microbial transfer through space, Planetary and Space Science, 2016, 125, 20−26.

Higgs, J.M.; Petersen, B.V.; Lammert, S.A.; Warnick, K.F.; Austin, D.E. Radiofrequency trapping of ions in a pure toroidal potential distribution, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 2016, 395, 20−26.

Complete list of publications


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