[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.
[Sulzer2012c] "From conventional proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) to universal trace gas analysis",
International Journal of Mass Spectrometry
, vol. 321: Elsevier, pp. 66–70, 2012.
We present here a slightly modified PTR-MS instrument that is not only capable to ionize trace compounds in air via proton-transfer-reactions (PTR) but is also able to ionize via charge-transfer-reactions (CTR) with help of reagent ions (Kr+ in particular) possessing higher ionization energies than common air constituents. This means that with minor adaptations a common PTR-MS instrument can be used for the analysis of nearly all available substance classes by using both PTR and/or CTR ionization. Especially in environmental research, the field of application where PTR-MS is used most widely, now not only trace volatile organic compounds (benzene, toluene, etc.) but additionally also very important (inorganic) substances, such as CO, CO2, CH4, NOx, and SO2, can be detected and quantified with the same instrument. As all ionizing agents are produced in a hollow cathode discharge ion source with good purity no additional mass filter is needed for reagent ion selection (as in other analytical methods employed) and remaining reagent ion impurities can be clearly distinguished from isobaric sample compounds due to the high mass resolution of the time-of-flight mass spectrometer used in the present PTR-MS instrument (PTR-TOF 8000). We present data obtained with various gas standards ranging from a “classical” PTR-MS aromatics mixture to samples containing molecules possessing ionization energies all the way up to 14 eV (CO).
[Maerk2012] "More than one order of magnitude higher sensitivities with Proton-Transfer-Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry",
: IONICON Analytik, 2012.
[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.
[Juerschik2012] "Rapid and facile detection of four date rape drugs in different beverages utilizing proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS).",
J Mass Spectrom
, vol. 47, no. 9: IONICON Analytik GmbH., Eduard-Bodem-Gasse 3, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria., pp. 1092–1097, Sep, 2012.
In this work, we illustrate the application of proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) in the field of food and drink safety. We present proof-of-principle measurements of four different drinks (water, tea, red wine and white wine) each spiked separately with four different date rape drugs (chloral hydrate, tricholorethanol, γ-butyrolactone and butanediol). At first, the ideal PTR-MS operating conditions (reduced electric field strength and monitoring the most abundant [fragment] ion) for detection of the drugs were determined utilizing a time-of-flight-based PTR-MS instrument. We then dissolved small quantities of the drugs (below the activation threshold for effects on humans) into the various types of drinks and detected them using a quadrupole-based PTR-MS instrument via two different sampling methods: (1) dynamic headspace sampling and (2) direct liquid injection. Both methods have their advantages and drawbacks. Only with dynamic headspace sampling can rape drug contaminations be detected within a timeframe of seconds, and therefore, this method is the most promising use of PTR-MS as a fast, sensitive and selective monitor for the detection of food and drink contamination.