Design of Portable Mass Spectrometers with Handheld Probes: Aspects of the Sampling and Miniature Pumping Systems.

Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry

PubMedID: 25404157

Chen CH, Chen TC, Zhou X, Kline-Schoder R, Sorensen P, Cooks RG, Ouyang Z. Design of Portable Mass Spectrometers with Handheld Probes: Aspects of the Sampling and Miniature Pumping Systems. J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2014;.
Miniature mass spectrometry analytical systems of backpack configuration fitted with sampling probes could potentially be of significant interest for in-field, real-time chemical analysis. In this study, various configurations were explored in which a long narrow tube was used to connect the turbo and backing pumps used to create and maintain vacuum. Also, for the first time we introduced two new types of pumps for miniature mass spectrometers, the Creare 130 g drag pump and Creare 350 g scroll backing pump. These pumps, along with another Creare 550 turbo pump and the commercially available Pfeiffer HiPace 10 turbo and KnF diaphragm backing pumps, were tested with the backpack configurations. The system performance, especially the scan time, was characterized when used with a discontinuous atmospheric pressure interface (DAPI) for ion introduction. The pumping performance in the pressure region above 1 mtorr is critical for DAPI operation. The 550 g turbo pump was shown to have a relatively higher pumping speed above 1 mtorr and gave a scan time of 300 ms, almost half the value obtained with the larger, heavier HiPace 10 often used with miniature mass spectrometers. The 350 g scroll pump was also found to be an improvement over the diaphragm pumps generally used as backing pumps. With a coaxial low temperature plasma ion source, direct analysis of low volatility compounds glass slides was demonstrated, including 1 ng DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol) and 10 ng TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) with Creare 550 g turbo pump as well as 10 ng cocaine and 20 ng DNP with Creare 130 g drag pump.