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Direct Analysis of Carbonyl Compounds by Mass Spectrometry with Double-Region Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionization

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journal contribution
posted on 05.04.2019, 00:00 by Yihan Zhang, Wuduo Zhao, Dingzhong Wang, Hongtu Zhang, Guobi Chai, Qidong Zhang, Binbin Lu, Shihao Sun, Jianxun Zhang
Direct analysis of highly reactive volatile species such as the aliphatic aldehydes as vital biomarkers remains a great challenge due to difficulties in the sample pretreatment. To address such a challenge, we herein report the development of a novel double-region atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry (DRAPCI-MS) method. The DRAPCI source implements a separated structural design that uses a focus electrode to divide the discharge and ionization region to reduce sample fragmentation in the ionization process. Counterflow introduction (CFI) configuration was adopted in the DRAPCI source to reduce background noise, while ion transmission efficiency was optimized through simulating the voltage of the focus electrode and the ion trajectory of the ion source. The limits of detection (LODs) of four carbonyl compounds cyclohexanone, hexanal, heptanal, and octanal by DRAPCI-MS were between 0.1 and 3 μg·m–3, approximately two to eight times lower than those by atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry. Additionally, the DRAPCI-MS method carried out effective in situ analyses of the volatile components in expired milk and the exhaled breath of smokers, demonstrating the DRAPCI-MS as a practical tool to analyze complex mixtures. The DRAPCI-MS method provides a rapid, sensitive, and high-throughput technique in the real-time analysis of gaseous small-molecule compounds.