The World's Leading PTR-MS Trace Analyzers Company


Real-Time Aerosol Inlet for IONICON PTR-TOFMS

The new CHemical Analysis of aeRosol ON-line (CHARON) particle inlet coupled to IONICON PTR-TOFMS instruments quantitatively detects organic sub-µm particulate matter as well as particulate ammonium and nitrate at single digit ng/m³ mass concentration levels in real-time.


  • One Instrument for Particles and Gases: sequentially characterize almost the full range of organic compounds in the gas- and particle-phase with one single instrument.
  • VOC, IVOC, SVOC and LVOC: on-line and real-time detection of volatile- to low volatile organic compounds on a molecular composition level.
  • Broad Linearity Range: detect virtually all particulate organic compounds in the atmosphere with individual concentrations of less than 100 pg m-3. The upper limit of detection is in the range of 1 mg m-3.
  • High Temporal Resolution: our novel Extended Volatility Range (EVR) setup allows for detecting of even the stickiest compounds in world leading PTR-MS response times.
  • Selective Reagent Ionization (SRI-MS): use H3O+ mode for most quantitative results. Switch to NH4+ adduct mode for almost fragmentation free ionization within seconds.

A new generation of quantitative operation

  • CHARON provides bulk elemental composition ratios (e.g. O:C, H:C, OSC) as well as bulk-average molecular formulas.
  • Excellent agreement with existing measurement techniques (e.g. TOF-AMS, LC-MS).
  • Follow individual particulate tracer compounds within single seconds response times.
  • Fully automated operation and advanced data analysis with IDA.

Combine CHARON with SRI

  • SRI: Switch from H3O+ to NH4+ reagent ions within seconds. No corrosive ammonia is needed.
  • H3O+ mode: Measure almost the full range of non-refractory sub-µm particulate matter including organics, ammonium and nitrate.
  • NH4+ mode: Detect oxygenated organic analytes almost fragmentation free (A.NH4+) at reduced E/N.
  • SRI application case study:  Analysis of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) generated by the ozonolysis of limonene in H3O+ mode and, almost fragmentation free, in NH4+ mode.

Application Examples

Learn more...

Visit the CHARON Technology Overview page

Leglise, J. et al., 2019:

Eichler, P. et al., 2015.

Technical specifications

The CHARON particle inlet is available as an exclusive add-on for selected IONICON PTR-TOFMS series instruments and best combined with the new PTR-TOF 6000, for an ultimate performance experience, high mass resolving power and utmost detection sensitivity. Sensitivities and limits of detection depend on the performance of the applied instrument. 

Limit of Detection Average LoD < 400 pg m-3 (60 s, m/z 60 - m/z 400)
Aerodynamic Lens System Inlet flow: ~ 500 ml/min
Robust operation and active pressure control
Gas phase denuder
VOC adsorption > 99.999% (at ambient concentrations)
Particle transmission > 90% for 80 nm < DP < 1000 nm
Particle Size Range Constant response factor: 120 nm < DP < 1000 nm (+/- 20%)
Reduced response factor: 60 nm < DP < 120 nm
Thermal Desorption Efficient soft evaporation (< 150°C, < 10 mbar)
Residence time < 1 s
Thermal degradation not reported
Volatility range: -5 > log C0 > 6 ((E)LVOC – IVOC)
reduced evaporation for log C0 < -5 (ELVOC)
Response times: Levoglucosan < 10 s (log C0 ~ 1)
Vanillic Acid < 15 s (log C0 ~ 1)
Azelaic Acid < 20 s (log C0 ~ 0.5)
Tartaric Acid < 40 s (log C0 ~ -1)
Combined Gas and Particle Detection Switching times < 60 s
Automated filter blanks
Power consumption: < 300 W (excl. external pump)
Dimensions (wxhxd) 240mm x 200mm x 800mm
Weight 15.85 kg (excl. external pump)

Specifications are subject to change without prior notice.