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Development of a System for Measuring and Recording Ion Currents for an MI-1201IG Mass Spectrometer

Kolobov, V. V., Selivanov, V. N., Barannik, M. B.
Journal of analytical chemistry 2018 v.73 no.13 pp. 1282-1291
capacitance, electric field, filters, isotopes, magnetic fields, modernization, resistors, spectrometers
In the complex modernization of an MI-1201IG isotope mass spectrometer, a new system for measuring and recording ion currents was developed, including an electrometric amplifier based on a high-resistivity (1 TΩ) feedback resistor and a special chip located in the electrometer head. A recording circuit based on a high-precision analog-to-digital converter was included in the new unit for controlling the separating magnetic field and measuring the ion current. In designing the system circuit, the task was not only to increase the sensitivity and expand the dynamic range when measuring the intensity of peaks in mass spectra but also to decrease the time constant of the analog part of the measuring system for the undistorted transfer of the ion current distribution form to the input of the analog-to-digital converter in a dynamic mode. A shielding system was designed that distributes the electric field gradient on the surface of a high-resistivity feedback resistor, which made it possible to compensate its distributed capacitance and decrease the time constant of the electrometric amplifier to 0.2 s. To compensate for the distortion of the shape of the ion current pulses, caused by the in-to-out stray capacitance of the electrometer’s amplifier chip, a special circuit was developed. This results in that the end-to-end frequency response of the new system for measuring and detecting ion currents is determined only by the upper cut-off frequency of the low-pass filters of 10 Hz. The high-speed measuring system made it possible to improve the mass-spectrometric resolution and mass accuracy and to increase full-spectrum scan rate. The working range of the new system for measuring and recording ion currents is 1 × 10–¹⁵ to 3 × 10–¹² A. The measured equivalent root-mean-square input noise is 0.86 fA at the sampling frequency of 10 Hz and the integration time of 1 s and 0.14 fA at the integration time of 10 s.