We discuss the evolution of OrbitrapTM mass spectrometry (MS) from its birth in the late 1990s to its current role as one of the most prominent techniques for MS. The Orbitrap mass analyzer is the first high-performance mass analyzer that employs trapping of ions in electrostatic fields. Tight integration with the ion injection process enables the high-resolution, mass accuracy, and sensitivity that have become essential for addressing analytical needs in numerous areas of research, as well as in routine analysis. We examine three major families of instruments (related to the LTQ Orbitrap, Q Exactive, and Orbitrap Fusion mass spectrometers) in the context of their historical development over the past ten eventful years. We discuss as well future trends and perspectives of Orbitrap MS. We illustrate the compelling potential of Orbitrap-based mass spectrometers as (ultra) high-resolution platforms, not only for high-end proteomic applications, but also for routine targeted analysis.


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