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Development of a Modular, Open-Source, Reduced-Pressure, Drift Tube Ion Mobility Spectrometer

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posted on 2024-03-21, 18:05 authored by Nathan W. Buzitis, Brian H. Clowers
Toward the goal of minimizing construction costs while maintaining high performance, a new, reduced-pressure, drift tube ion mobility system is coupled with an ion trap mass analyzer through a custom ion shuttle. The availability of reduced-pressure ion mobility systems remains limited due to comparatively expensive commercial options and limited shared design features in the open literature. This report details the complete design and benchmarking characteristics of a reduced-pressure ion mobility system. The system is constructed from FR4 PCB electrodes and encased in a PTFE vacuum enclosure with custom torque-tightened couplers to utilize standard KF40 bulkheads. The PTFE enclosure directly minimizes the overall system expenses, and the implementation of threaded brass inserts allows for facile attachments to the vacuum enclosure without damaging the thermoplastic housing. Front and rear ion funnels maximize ion transmission and help mitigate the effects of radial ion diffusion. A custom planar ion shuttle transports ions from the exit of the rear ion funnel into the ion optics of an ion trap mass analyzer. The planar ion shuttle can couple the IM system to any contemporary Thermo Scientific ion trap mass analyzer. Signal stability and ion intensity remain unchanging following the implementation of the planar ion shuttle when compared to the original stacked ring ion guide. The constructed IM system showed resolving powers up to 85 for various small molecules and proteins using the Fourier transform from a ∼1 m drift tube. Recorded mobilities derived from first principles agree with published literature results with an average error of 1.1% and an average error toward literature values using single field calibration of <1.3%.

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