Pataigin developed a novel planar method to form ions for mass spectrometry by surface acoustic wave nebulization (SAWN). Extensive preliminary results have demonstrated several advantages to this method in comparison to electrospray ionization (ESI) and matrix assisted laser desorption (MALDI). First, unlike ESI, a high voltage electric field is not required, eliminating the chance of redox reactions occurring. Second, there are no capillaries to be clogged and the planar geometry of the SAWN platform allows for the integration of complex fluid handling by droplet-based microfluidics (DMF). Third, analysis with thermometer ions has shown that SAWN is softer (i.e. less fragmentation occurs) than both ESI and MALDI.