Direct Analysis in Real Time Coupled to Multiplexed Drift Tube Ion Mobility Spectrometry for Detecting Toxic Chemicals

Authors: Glenn Harris, Facundo Fernndez, Mark Kwasnik
Anal Chem 2011, Mar, 15, 83(6), 1908-15
10.1021/ac051277q

 

Current and future chemical threats to homeland security motivate the need for new chemical detection systems to provide border, transportation, and workplace security. We present the first successful coupling of a commercial direct analysis in real time (DART®) ion source to a resistive glass monolithic drift tube ion mobility spectrometer (DTIMS) as the basis for a low maintenance, versatile, and robust chemical monitoring system. in situ ionization within the electric field gradient of the instrument enhances sensitivity and provides a safe sampling strategy. The instrument uses nitrogen as both the DART® discharge and DTIMS drift gases, allowing for a high electric field to be used for ion separation while keeping cost-of-use low. With the use of a traditional signal averaging acquisition mode, the 95% probability of detection (POD) for analytes sampled from melting point capillary tubes was 11.81% v/v for DMMP, 1.13% v/v for 2-CEES, and 10.61 mM for methamidophos. Sensitivity was improved via a prototype transmission-mode geometry interface, resulting in an almost 2 orders of magnitude decrease in the POD level for DMMP (0.28% v/v). As an alternative to transmission mode operation, digital multiplexing of the DTIMS ion injection step was also implemented, finding a 3-fold improvement in signal-to-noise ratios for 200 ?s gate injections and a 4.5-fold for 400 ?s gate injections.
 
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