[Warneke2005a] "Development of proton-transfer ion trap-mass spectrometry: On-line detection and identification of volatile organic compounds in air",
Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
, vol. 16, no. 8: Elsevier, pp. 1316–1324, 2005.
We present a newly developed instrument that uses proton-transfer ion trap-mass spectrometry (PIT-MS) for on-line trace gas analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The instrument is based on the principle of proton-transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS): VOCs are ionized using PTRs and detected with a mass spectrometer. As opposed to a quadrupole mass filter in a PTR-MS, the PIT-MS instrument uses an IT-MS, which has the following advantages: (1) the ability to acquire a full mass spectrum in the same time as one mass with a quadrupole and (2) extended analytical capabilities of identifying VOCs by performing collision-induced dissociation (CID) and ion molecule reactions in the IT. The instrument described has, at its current status, limits of detection between 0.05 and 0.5 pbbv for 1-min measurements for all tested VOCs. The PIT-MS was tested in an ambient air measurement in the urban area of Boulder, Colorado, and intercompared with PTR-MS. For all measured compounds the degree of correlation between the two measurements was high (r2 > 0.85), except for acetonitrile (CH3CN), which was close to the limit of detection of the PIT-MS instrument. The two measurements agreed within less than 25%, which was within the combined measurement uncertainties. Automated CID measurements on m/z 59 during the intercomparison were used to determine the contributions of acetone and propanal to the measured signal; both are detected at m/z 59 and thus are indistinguishable in PTR-MS. It was determined that m/z 59 was mainly composed of acetone. An influence of propanal was detected only during a high pollution event. The advantages and future developments of PIT-MS are discussed.