LIFT Brings Exum’s New Massbox Transformative Technology to Detroit for Rapid Chemical Characterization

DETROIT, Mich. – LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense national manufacturing innovation institute, has announced a new, transformative, high-tech resource has arrived in the metrology laboratory of its 100,000 square foot advanced manufacturing facility: Exum Instrument’s new Massbox, an innovative mass spectrometer specifically designed for ease-of-use on solid materials.

The Massbox is the industry’s first Laser Ablation Laser Ionization Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer capable of trace level detection for virtually the entire periodic table.  To strengthen LIFT’s work in designing, building and testing new materials for future components for the Department of Defense and industry, the Massbox rapidly determines the chemical composition of any solid material, from a pressed powder to a solid part. Previously, such testing has been cumbersome, inefficient, with limited scope of elemental results, and generally requiring subcontracting with testing houses. The Massbox changes everything, providing quantitative chemical analysis of metallic, trace, and low-mass (e.g., carbon, oxygen) elements in a single analytical session.

A desktop platform, the Massbox combines Exum’s patented laser-ablation laser-ionization (LALI) source with industry-leading time-of flight (TOF) mass analyzer. LALI utilizes one laser to remove material from a solid sample and a second laser to subsequently ionize neutrals. This process removes many of the elemental fractionation, spectral interferences, and matrix effects that plague other techniques. Plus, its intuitive interface allows a user without chemistry expertise to obtain impactful results with just a few hours of training.

“The Massbox brings mass spectrometry out of the traditional laboratory environment, combining high performance with intuitive operations in a compact package,” said Jeff Williams, CEO / CTO and Co-Founder of Exum Instruments. “Addressing the challenges associated with conventional instruments, this versatile technology is an ideal tool for quality control, failure analysis, material development, and more.”

“As LIFT continues its focus on the intersection of materials, processing and systems engineering, this new tool is a game changer for LIFT and our broader ecosystem,” said Noel Mack, Chief Technology Officer, LIFT. “It is sure to serve as a vitally important resource in advancing high-tech research and development in Detroit and beyond.”

For more information on the Exum Massbox, visit:

To watch a recent LIFT Off webinar presented by Exum which showcased the Massbox, click here.


LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is the Detroit-based, public-private partnership between the Department of Defense, industry, and academia, committed to the development and deployment of advanced manufacturing technologies, and implementing talent development initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit or follow on LinkedIn at LIFT or on Twitter @NewsFromLIFT to learn more.