[Sulzer2012a] "Designer Drugs and Trace Explosives Detection with the Help of Very Recent Advancements in Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS)",
: Springer, pp. 366–375, 2012.
At the "Future Security 2011" we presented an overview of our studies on the "Detection and Identification of Illicit and Hazardous Substances with Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS)" including first results on explosives, chemical warfare agents and illicit and prescribed drugs detection. Since then we have considerably extended these preliminary studies to the detection of defined traces of some of the most common explosives, namely TNT, PETN, TATP, and DATP deposited into aluminum foam bodies, and to the detection of a number of novel and widely unknown designer drugs: ethylphenidate, 4-fluoroamphetamine and dimethocaine. Moreover, we have dramatically improved our time-of-flight based PTR-MS instruments by substantially increasing their sensitivity and hence lowering the detection limit, making them even more suitable and applicable to threat agents with extremely low vapour pressures. Data from measurements on certified gas standards are presented in order to underline these statements. The data demonstrate that, in comparison to the first generation instruments, a gain of one order of magnitude in terms of sensitivity and detection limit has been obtained.
[Kassebacher2012] "Detecting and Quantifying Toxic Industrial Compounds (TICs) with Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS)",
: Springer, pp. 438–447, 2012.
In the course of the FP7-SEC project "SPIRIT" (Safety and Protection of built Infrastructure to Resist Integral Threats) we focused our research with Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) on C-agents, specifically Toxic Industrial Compounds (TICs). Most TICs are readily available and represent a considerable threat when used in terroristic attacks. We show the principal procedure of PTR-MS detection measurements on two chemicals, namely phosgene and chloroacetone. With studies of the former we want to point out principle differences between measurements on a quadrupole mass filter based and a Time-of-Flight-based PTR-MS instrument and point out the respective benefits and drawbacks. For the latter we present the results of a diluted headspace measurement and illustrate the connection with security standards in buildings.
[Sulzer2012] "Proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry and the unambiguous real-time detection of 2,4,6 trinitrotoluene.",
, vol. 84, no. 9: Ionicon Analytik Gesellschaft m.b.H., Eduard-Bodem-Gasse 3, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria., pp. 4161–4166, May, 2012.
Fears of terrorist attacks have led to the development of various technologies for the real-time detection of explosives, but all suffer from potential ambiguities in the assignment of threat agents. Using proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), an unusual bias dependence in the detection sensitivity of 2,4,6 trinitrotoluene (TNT) on the reduced electric field (E/N) has been observed. For protonated TNT, rather than decreasing signal intensity with increasing E/N, which is the more usual sensitivity pattern observed in PTR-MS studies, an anomalous behavior is first observed, whereby the signal intensity initially rises with increasing E/N. We relate this to unexpected ion-molecule chemistry based upon comparisons of measurements taken with related nitroaromatic compounds (1,3,5 trinitrobenzene, 1,3 dinitrobenzene, and 2,4 dinitrotoluene) and electronic structure calculations. This dependence provides an easily measurable signature that can be used to provide a rapid highly selective analytical procedure to minimize false positives for the detection of TNT. This has major implications for Homeland Security and, in addition, has the potential of making instrumentation cost-effective for use in security areas. This study shows that an understanding of fundamental ion-molecule chemistry occurring in low-pressure drift tubes is needed to exploit selectivity and sensitivity for analytical purposes.