[Prazeller2003] "Proton transfer reaction ion trap mass spectrometer",
Rapid communications in mass spectrometry
, vol. 17, no. 14: Wiley Online Library, pp. 1593–1599, 2003.
Proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry is a relatively new field that has attracted a great deal of interest in the last few years. This technique uses H3O+ as a chemical ionization (CI) reagent to measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the parts per billion by volume (ppbv) to parts per trillion by volume (pptv) range. Mass spectra acquired with a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS) are simple because proton transfer chemical ionization is ‘soft’ and results in little or no fragmentation. Unfortunately, peak identification can still be difficult due to isobaric interferences. A possible solution to this problem is to couple the PTR drift tube to an ion trap mass spectrometer (ITMS). The use of an ITMS is appealing because of its ability to perform MS/MS and possibly distinguish between isomers and other isobars. Additionally, the ITMS duty cycle is much higher than that of a linear quadrupole so faster data acquisition rates are possible that will allow for detection of multiple compounds. Here we present the first results from a proton transfer reaction ion trap mass spectrometer (PTR-ITMS). The aim of this study was to investigate ion injection and storage efficiency of a simple prototype instrument in order to estimate possible detection limits of a second-generation instrument. Using this prototype a detection limit of 100 ppbv was demonstrated. Modifications are suggested that will enable further reduction in detection limits to the low-ppbv to high-pptv range. Furthermore, the applicability of MS/MS in differentiating between isobaric species was determined. MS/MS spectra of the isobaric compounds methyl vinyl ketone (MVK) and methacrolein (MACR) are presented and show fragments of different mass making differentiation possible, even when a mixture of both species is present in the same sample. However, MS/MS spectra of acetone and propanal produce fragments with the same molecular masses but with different intensity ratios. This allows quantitative distinction only if one species is predominant. Fragmentation mechanisms are proposed to explain the results.
[Karl2003a] "Use of proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry to characterize volatile organic compound sources at the La Porte super site during the Texas Air Quality Study 2000",
Journal of geophysical research
, vol. 108, no. D16: American Geophysical Union, pp. 4508, 2003.
Proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) was deployed for continuous real-time monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at a site near the Houston Ship Channel during the Texas Air Quality Study 2000. Overall, 28 ions dominated the PTR-MS mass spectra and were assigned as anthropogenic aromatics (e.g., benzene, toluene, xylenes) and hydrocarbons (propene, isoprene), oxygenated compounds (e.g., formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, methanol, C7 carbonyls), and three nitrogen-containing compounds (e.g., HCN, acetonitrile and acrylonitrile). Biogenic VOCs were minor components at this site. Propene was the most abundant lightweight hydrocarbon detected by this technique with concentrations up to 100+ nmol mol−1, and was highly correlated with its oxidation products, formaldehyde (up to ∼40 nmol mol−1) and acetaldehyde (up to ∼80 nmol/mol), with typical ratios close to 1 in propene-dominated plumes. In the case of aromatic species the high time resolution of the obtained data set helped in identifying different anthropogenic sources (e.g., industrial from urban emissions) and testing current emission inventories. A comparison with results from complimentary techniques (gas chromatography, differential optical absorption spectroscopy) was used to assess the selectivity of this on-line technique in a complex urban and industrial VOC matrix and give an interpretation of mass scans obtained by “soft” chemical ionization using proton-transfer via H3O+. The method was especially valuable in monitoring rapidly changing VOC plumes which passed over the site, and when coupled with meteorological data it was possible to identify likely sources.