A miniaturized time-of-flight mass spectrometer with an electron impact ionization source and sheet membrane introduction has been developed. The advantages and features of this mass spectrometer include high sensitivity, simple structure, low cost, compact volume with field portability, and ease of operation. A mass resolution of 400 at m/z 78 has been obtained with a 25 cm flight path length. Under optimized conditions, the detection limits for the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) studied were 0.2-10 ppm by volume with linear dynamic ranges greater than three orders of magnitude. The response times for various VOCs using a silicone membrane of 127 μm thickness were in the range 4.5-20 s, which provides a sample analysis time of less than 1 minute. These results indicate that the membrane introduction/time-of-flight mass spectrometer will be useful for a wide range of field applications, particularly for environmental monitoring.
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