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J Mass Spectrom. 2015 Jan;50(1):198-205. doi: 10.1002/jms.3518.

Precise determination of nonlinear function of ion mobility for explosives and drugs at high electric fields for microchip FAIMS.

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Department of Information Science and Electronic Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China.


High-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS) separates ions by utilizing the characteristics of nonlinear ion mobility at high and low electric fields. Accurate ion discrimination depends on the precise solution of nonlinear relationships and is essential for accurate identification of ion species for applications. So far, all the nonlinear relationships of ion mobility obtained are based at low electric fields (E/N <65 Td). Microchip FAIMS (μ-FAIMS) with small dimensions has high electric field up to E/N = 250 Td, making the approximation methods and conclusions for nonlinear relationships inappropriate for these systems. In this paper, we deduced nonlinear functions based on the first principle and a general model. Furthermore we considered the hydrodynamics of gas flow through microchannels. We then calculated the specific alpha coefficients for cocaine, morphine, HMX, TNT and RDX, respectively, based on their FAIMS spectra measured by μ-FAIMS system at ultra-high fields up to 250 Td. The results show that there is no difference in nonlinear alpha functions obtained by the approximation and new method at low field (<120 Td), but the error induced by using approximation method increases monotonically with the increase in field, and could be as much as 30% at a field of 250 Td.


FAIMS spectrum; explosives and drugs; ion mobility nonlinear function; micro FAIMS

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