Proton-Transfer-Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (PTR-TOFMS): Latest Improvements in Selectivity and Sensitivity

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Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) is one of the most sensitive methods for real-time gas analysis. One limitation, however, is the lack of unambiguous compound identification, since only the m/z of an ion is acquired. We recently tested several approaches of increasing the selectivity via varying the reduced electric field strength (E/N) and switching the reagent ions between H30+, NO*, 02+, Xe* and Kr+, respectively. The latter is only possible with the latest generation of PTR-MS instruments, which are called Selective-Reagent-lonization Mass Spectrometry (SRI-MS) instruments. We present data obtained with such an SRI-MS instrument on two isomeric new psychoactive substances (4-methylethcathinone and N-ethylbuphedrone).

In order to improve the selectivity even further, we coupled a FastGC column to a PTR-MS instrument. It is small enough to be installed inside a standard instrument and allows for fast spectral runs for near real-time analysis.

In addition to these advancements in selectivity, we present latest data on the sensitivities and the limits of detection (LoD) achievable with a SRI-MS instrument.

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