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Two Dimensional Plasma Chromatography


Two-Dimensional Plasma Chromatography/ Mass-Spectrometry - a Step Forward in Ion Mobility Spectrometry Development Aimed at Creation of Highly Sensitive Portable Instruments for Analytical Monitoring

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-ANL/Analytical Chemistry/Chemistry
  • INS-DET/Detection Devices/Instrumentation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Lapidus O V

Leading Institute
Research Institute of Technology, Russia, Leningrad reg., Sosnovy Bor

Supporting institutes

  • Siberian Branch of RAS / Design & Technological Institute of Instrument Engineering for Geophysics and Ecology, Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Novosibirsk


  • SAES GETTERS S.p.A., Italy, Milan\nInstitut für Umwelttechnologien GmbH, Germany, Berlin\nWashington State University, USA, WA, Pullman\nOhio University/Center for Intelligent Chemical Instrumentation,Clippinger Laboratories, USA, GA, Athens\nNew Mexico State University / College of Arts and Sciences, USA, NM, Las Cruces

Project summary

Detection and identification of trace chemical vapors in multi-component gas mixtures, including atmospheric air, is a great concern of the modern analytical chemistry. The requirements of nature conservation, high technology applications, public health, sanitation and criminalistics have motivated seeking for solutions to this problem. Traditional monitoring methods are not often able to follow the increasing demands for sensitivity, reliability and speed of analyses and, what is also important, are not always applicable to in-field measurements. Clearly, the most effective and reasonable solution to the challenge can be the use of new physical methods, not common for gas analyses, where ion-molecule reactions and specificity of measurements provide for a highly selective analysis of multi-component environments. Determination of the trace concentrations (10-10% and lower) of specific components can be done in real time without labor intensive procedures for sample preparation (concentration, preseparation, etc). Instruments for such analyses, as a rule, should be comparatively simple, portable, self-contained and inexpensive.

The project’s objective is to create radically new instruments for use in environmental monitoring, chemical and high-purity material industries, medical diagnoses, sanitation, and criminalistics, having enhanced analytical performance (sensitivity, accuracy) and operating convenience (simplicity, availability, reliability and portability).

The Project tasks:

- investigation of a new line in analytical instrumentation - combination of the principles of two-dimensional plasma chromatography and mass-spectrometry as a highly effective tool for further developments in ion mobility spectrometry;

- search for particular ways of implementing the proposed methodological and technical solutions in practical applications;

- design of a model prototype of the proposed portable rapid analyzer.

The developmental work is based on the use of the principles of two-dimensional plasma chromatography and mass-spectrometry, thus enabling a designer to take advantages of both methods in a single analysis system. The idea can be realized through separating ions both in time and in space, using crossed electric and electromagnetic fields. Note that plasma chromatography in its classic, one-dimensional, form has been already implemented in a practical application as rapidly developing ion mobility spectrometry.

Advances made in this area by the world’s leading laboratories, as well as the pioneering work on two-dimensional gas chromatography carried out at NITI and KTI GEP, now allow conclusions regarding the attractiveness of the proposed approach and the possibility of creating new generation special-purpose analyzers.

The combined technique retains the main advantages of ion mobility spectrometry (high sensitivity, simplicity, portability) and in a large degree offsets IMS limitations (low resolution and insufficient reproducibility of measurements) by using the dependence of the mobility coefficient on the intensity of a high-frequency amplitude-asymmetric strong electric field. This opens up new prospects for creating analytical means with enhanced response (lower detection limit for tertiary alkylamines is 10-3...10-4 ppb, measurement time is 0.5 min.)

The estimated project duration is three years.

For the first year, it is planned to carry out a series of investigations into two-dimensional plasma chromatography and find practical ways to couple same with mass-spectrometry for various sample ionization conditions, different analyzer designs and analysis conditions.

For the second year, we suggest to continue work on optimization of the methodology and technical solutions, design and manufacture model prototypes of the analyzer units and systems (ionization means, drift tube, detector, amplifier, signal processing, power and control) and define the scope of diagnostic problems that can be solved with the proposed analyzer in the areas of environmental monitoring, high-purity material production and medical diagnostics.

For the third year, we plan to work out and manufacture the portable high-speed analyzer, carry out laboratory and in-field trials of the analyzer, as well as develop and test the analysis techniques for specific chemicals (toxic and explosive substances, narcotics, pesticides, etc.), using the developed analyzer.


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