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SAN FRANCISCO — A new method for using mass spectrometry to analyze samples as they exist in nature may have broad applications, including the proteomic analysis of samples in situ, forensic work, homeland security, and pharmaceutical applications.

The method, called Desorption Electrospray Ionization, or DESI, was commercialized by the Indianapolis-based company Prosolia. Graham Cooks, the Purdue University chemistry professor who developed the DESI technology, originally published his work on the new method in Science in October 2004.

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