Metrology for ambient mass spectrometry

Salter, Tara La Roche (2015) Metrology for ambient mass spectrometry. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Ambient mass spectrometry (AMS) is a new and versatile method for analysing a multitude of different sample types with the benefit of analysis at ambient pressure and the many other advantages that this entails. However, as these techniques are still in their infancy, metrological development of the techniques is essential. This is a critical step before AMS can be used reliably in the application areas in which it has shown great promise. The research in this thesis addresses the development of AMS sources, in particular plasma-assisted desorption-ionisation, PADI. Optimisation and characterisation is fundamental to understanding and developing the technique.

Optimisation of PADI is addressed; this includes understanding the effects of different parameters to maximise signal intensities. The power, and temperature, of the plasma is shown to have a significant effect on the fragmentation observed in the mass spectra. This is an important result that is further explored with the use of thermal desorption to aid the analysis of low volatility molecules. The form of the analyte is also an important consideration for analysis by PADI; characteristic ions from powders are easily detected, whereas for thin film samples an analyte vapour pressure of greater than 10-4 Pa is needed. This result provides an indication of the limitations of PADI and what classes of analyte it will be successful at analysing. It is also shown that we can improve signal intensities using a heated sample stage allowing the analytes to be thermally desorbed before being ionised by the plasma. This is an important result for future work, where ambient plasma sources can be implemented as an ionisation source in conjunction with another mechanism, such as thermal or laser desorption, to generate gas-phase ions.

A comparison of different ambient methods for personal care products shows the usefulness and also complementarities of PADI with desorption electrospray ionisation, DESI, one of the most established AMS techniques which utilises a different mechanism for desorption and ionisation. This also demonstrates the chemical information that can quickly be gained from these techniques, with minimal sample preparation. DESI is also compared to secondary ion mass spectrometry, SIMS. Vacuum-based techniques such as SIMS are much more established than ambient techniques; it is insightful to understand the advantages that each source can offer, for the analysis of different types of molecule as well as the mass spectral information that can be gained from SIMS and DESI.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Alexander, M.
Gilmore, I.S.
Barrett, D.A.
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics > QC350 Optics. Light, including spectroscopy
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Pharmacy
Item ID: 28748
Depositing User: Salter, Tara
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2015 11:34
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 19:02
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/28748

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