Portable Mass Spectrometry Using Miniature Detectors

Portable mass spectrometry has found extensive use in forensic and security applications for rapid identification of on-scene suspicious substances, contraband, or chemical threats. These instruments offer a reliable and quick analysis when quick solutions are required.

However, instrument designers face unique challenges while using portable mass spectrometers. The analysis must be accurate and fast, the instrument must be compact yet powerful, and the vacuum is often poor because of power constraints.

Photonis provides an extensive range of custom and standard detectors well suited for working in higher pressure and poor vacuum conditions. Photonis detectors support different types of mass spectrometry (for example, quadrupole) and ion trap mass filters. The focus of Photonis on low-noise, high-gain detectors assures a highly accurate analysis for users.

Poor Vacuum Operation Electron Multipliers

How Do Your Detectors Perform in Poor Vacuum Environments?

In contrast to the discrete dynode electron multipliers, Photonis Magnum™ detectors are exclusively designed to work under poor vacuum conditions, offer extended service life, optimize mass resolution, and increase dynamic range in mass spectrometry measurements. Thanks to their high performance and small size, the Photonis detectors are perfect solutions for compact and portable analytical instruments.

This increase in performance is due to the Photonis Spiraltron™ technology that employs six individual spiral multiplier channels, which are fed by a single integral ion collection aperture (see Figure 1). The high-channel curvature degree virtually removes the ion feedback noise. This technology enables these small-sized detectors to achieve high gain, while maintaining noise at a lower level.

Portable Mass Spectrometry Using Miniature Detectors

Figure 1. Image Credit: Photonis.

The Spiraltron™ Electron Multipliers have been exclusively engineered for poor vacuum applications like portable mass spectrometers. These devices can effectively work at pressures well into the 10−3 Torr range, while compact Daly and MegaSpiraltron™ detectors (see Figure 2) can function at pressures of 10−2 Torr.

Detectors available for operation in poor vacuum environments.

Figure 2. Detectors available for operation in poor vacuum environments. Image Credit: Photonis.

Microchannel Plate-Based Mass Spectrometer Detectors

Photonis is the leading manufacturer of microchannel plates (MCPs) in the world. These MCPs are developed with Photonis’ proprietary glass formula. Photonis specializes in custom-designing its MCPs, and offers the widest array of options, such as sizes, coatings, and geometries.

The Long-Life™ Microchannel Plates from Photonis offer sustained output nearly five times longer when compared to other MCPs. Moreover, Photonis MCPs offer better protection against magnetic fields, high electronic gain, and low noise.

Photonis MCPs come as standalone pieces or as comprehensive detectors including mounting hardware. The specialized XPR MCP detector from Photonis has been engineered to work well under poor vacuum conditions. It is the best option for portable instrumentation and residual gas analysis. The MCP is enclosed within the stainless steel housing and can be baked up to 300 °F. The Photonis detector can operate in both electron multiplication mode and Faraday mode.

XPR MCP detector.

XPR MCP detector. Image Credit: Photonis.

In addition, Photonis offers MCPs that are used in single and triple quadrupole analytical instruments. The high gain, magnetic immunity, and longer service life are factors crucial to these applications. In general, single quad and triple quad instruments are employed for metabolite analysis; therefore, their level of efficiency and reliability are critical.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by PHOTONIS Technologies S.A.S.

For more information on this source, please visit PHOTONIS Technologies S.A.S.

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