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Analyte-Tailored Controlled Atmosphere Improves Dielectric Barrier Discharge Ionization Mass Spectrometry Performance

Vogel, Pascal, Marggraf, Ulrich, Brandt, Sebastian, García-Reyes, Juan F., Franzke, Joachim
Analytical chemistry 2019 v.91 no.5 pp. 3733-3739
atmospheric pressure, detection limit, gases, ionization, mass spectrometry, nitrogen, oxygen, perfluorocarbons, spectrometers
Plasma sources in atmospheric pressure soft-ionization mass spectrometry have gained significant interest in recent years. As many of these sources are used under ambient air conditions, their interaction with the surrounding atmosphere plays an important role in the ionization pathway. This study focuses on the interaction between the plasma source and the surrounding atmosphere by connecting the plasma source to the mass spectrometer using a 2 mm ID closed reactant capillary supplied by a reactant gas up to 500 mL per minute to gain a controlled atmosphere. Different reactant gases (Ar, He, O₂, and N₂) and reactant gas mixtures are tested with regard to the DBDI performance and then used to improve the ionization efficiency. Tailoring the controlled atmosphere for a certain analyte, for example, perfluorinated compounds, leads to significantly improved limits of detection up to 2 ppb.