Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometry for Homeland Security and Forensic Applications.

Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry

PubMedID: 25398262

Giannoukos S, Brkic B, Taylor S, France N. Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometry for Homeland Security and Forensic Applications. J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2014;.
A man-portable membrane inlet mass spectrometer has been built and tested to detect and monitor characteristic odors emitted from the human body and also from threat substances. In each case, a heated membrane sampling probe was used. During human scent monitoring experiments, data were obtained for inorganic gases and volatile organic compounds emitted from human breath and sweat in a confined space. Volatile emissions were detected from the human body at low ppb concentrations. Experiments with compounds associated with narcotics, explosives, and chemical warfare agents were conducted for a range of membrane types. Test compounds included methyl benzoate (odor signature of cocaine), piperidine (precursor in clandestine phencyclidine manufacturing processes), 2-nitrotoluene (breakdown product of TNT), cyclohexanone (volatile signature of plastic explosives), dimethyl methylphosphonate (used in sarin and soman nerve agent production), and 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide (simulant compound for sulfur mustard gas). Gas phase calibration experiments were performed allowing sub-ppb LOD to be established. The results showed excellent linearity versus concentration and rapid membrane response times.