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Providing ultra-sensitive solutions for real-time trace gas analysis since 1998


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Quad vs. TOF

Detection unit

Quadrupole or time of flight mass spectrometer:

Since 1998 IONICON produces and develops PTR-MS products. Our expertise in this field led us to the creation of quadrupole and time of flight based trace gas analyzers with different ionization methods. 

Here are some tips which might help you to decide what type of detector is the best for your analytical objective:

  • In one scan the entire mass range can be analyzed with an incredibly high-resolution and high-sensitivity.
  • Higher resolutions compared to unit mass resolving power of quadrupole mass filters enhance the separation and identification capabilities.
  • Having the entire spectrum at hand in split-seconds provides much more data in less time, hence more speed for analysis and sensitivity in complex mixtures.
  • Because of the low mass fragmentation of our PTR-ion source, compounds with the same molecular weight appear on the same protonated mass and can hardly be differentiated using a quadrupole mass filter (e.g. Xylene [C8H10] and Benzaldehyde [C7H6O] = 107 amu). With a high-resolution time of flight, compounds with different atomic composition appear on their exact protonated mass (e.g. xylene [C8H10] = 107,0861 amu, benzaldehyde [C7H6O] = 107,0497 amu) and isobaric species can therefore be distinguished.
  • Virtually no instrumental mass range limitation.
  • A novel technology delivering incredible results.
  • the more advanced and much more powerful technology.


If your aim is to go for a state-of-the-art technology with many advantages, complex gas mixtures are of interest and time as well as identification capabilities are crucial, you should decide for the IONICON PTR-TOFMS series.

  • For only a small amount of masses a quadrupole has a satisfactorily speed and delivers a very low detection limit in combination with our PTR-ion source.
  • Smaller amount of data to be analyzed.
  • Well experienced and reliable technology.
  • However, in the meantime our own TOF developments are so advanced, that not only in terms of robustness and reliability, but also when comparing the price tags, our PTR-TOFMS series clearly outperforms PTR-QMS products.