Development of analytically capable time-of-flight mass spectrometer with continuous ion introduction

Hárs, György; Dobos, Gábor
March 2010
Review of Scientific Instruments;Mar2010, Vol. 81 Issue 3, p033101
Academic Journal
The present article describes the results and findings explored in the course of the development of the analytically capable prototype of continuous time-of-flight (CTOF) mass spectrometer. Currently marketed pulsed TOF (PTOF) instruments use ion introduction with a 10 ns or so pulse width, followed by a waiting period roughly 100 μs. Accordingly, the sample is under excitation in 10-4 part of the total measuring time. This very low duty cycle severely limits the sensitivity of the PTOF method. A possible approach to deal with this problem is to use linear sinusoidal dual modulation technique (CTOF) as described in this article. This way the sensitivity of the method is increased, due to the 50% duty cycle of the excitation. All other types of TOF spectrometer use secondary electron multiplier (SEM) for detection, which unfortunately discriminates in amplification in favor of the lighter ions. This discrimination effect is especially undesirable in a mass spectrometric method, which targets high mass range. In CTOF method, SEM is replaced with Faraday cup detector, thus eliminating the mass discrimination effect. Omitting SEM is made possible by the high ion intensity and the very slow ion detection with some hundred hertz detection bandwidth. The electrometer electronics of the Faraday cup detector operates with amplification 1010 V/A. The primary ion beam is highly monoenergetic due to the construction of the ion gun, which made possible to omit any electrostatic mirror configuration for bunching the ions. The measurement is controlled by a personal computer and the intelligent signal generator Type Tabor WW 2571, which uses the direct digital synthesis technique for making arbitrary wave forms. The data are collected by a Labjack interface board, and the fast Fourier transformation is performed by the software. Noble gas mixture has been used to test the analytical capabilities of the prototype setup. Measurement presented proves the results of the mathematical calculations as well as the future potentiality for use in chemical analysis of gaseous mixtures.


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