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Instruments 2018, 2(2), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments2020005

A Low-Cost, Simplified Platform of Interchangeable, Ambient Ionization Sources for Rapid, Forensic Evidence Screening on Portable Mass Spectrometric Instrumentation

1
Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
2
Department of Chemistry, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 25 March 2018
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Abstract

Portable mass spectrometers (MS) are becoming more prevalent due to improved instrumentation, commercialization, and the robustness of new ionization methodologies. To increase utility towards diverse field-based applications, there is an inherent need for rugged ionization source platforms that are simple, yet robust towards analytical scenarios that may arise. Ambient ionization methodologies have evolved to target specific real-world problems and fulfill requirements of the analysis at hand. Ambient ionization techniques continue to advance towards higher performance, with specific sources showing variable proficiency depending on application area. To realize the full potential and applicability of ambient ionization methods, a selection of sources may be more prudent, showing a need for a low-cost, flexible ionization source platform. This manuscript describes a centralized system that was developed for portable MS systems that incorporates modular, rapidly-interchangeable ionization sources comprised of low-cost, commercially-available parts. Herein, design considerations are reported for a suite of ambient ionization sources that can be crafted with minimal machining or customization. Representative spectral data is included to demonstrate applicability towards field processing of forensic evidence. While this platform is demonstrated on portable instrumentation, retrofitting to lab-scale MS systems is anticipated. View Full-Text
Keywords: ambient ionization; portable mass spectrometry; portable instrumentation; desorption electrospray ionization (DESI); paper spray ionization (PSI); paper cone spray ionization (PCSI); atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI); swab touch spray ionization (STSI); modular ion sources; forensics; drug evidence; arson ambient ionization; portable mass spectrometry; portable instrumentation; desorption electrospray ionization (DESI); paper spray ionization (PSI); paper cone spray ionization (PCSI); atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI); swab touch spray ionization (STSI); modular ion sources; forensics; drug evidence; arson
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Fedick, P.W.; Fatigante, W.L.; Lawton, Z.E.; O’Leary, A.E.; Hall, S.E.; Bain, R.M.; Ayrton, S.T.; Ludwig, J.A.; Mulligan, C.C. A Low-Cost, Simplified Platform of Interchangeable, Ambient Ionization Sources for Rapid, Forensic Evidence Screening on Portable Mass Spectrometric Instrumentation. Instruments 2018, 2, 5.

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