Kore Technology PTR-TOF-MS



This PTR-TOF-MS was built for a commercial UK company and is an extension of the PTR instrument designed for Nottingham University.      
This new instrument has a larger reflectron (150mm diameter compared to 100mm), and a longer effective flight length of 2 metres (compared to 1.2m). It also has a higher temperature capacity at the front end to allow semi-volatile materials to be analysed more successfully. The oven operates at 100°C, but there is a separate 200°C heater on the capillary inlet line, and a 200°C heater on the PTR source to prevent low volatility molecules from condensing in the inlet lines leading to the reactor cell.      
This increases the range of compounds that can be detected by the instrument. As well as the ability to monitor a continuous flow of gas drawn into the PTR reactor, it is possible to use thermal desorption methods for analysis of semi- volatiles, because the transport to the reactor is sufficiently hot.
Mass Spectrometer Type Time-of-Flight


A full mass spectrum is available at every point on the 'chromatogram', and in the case of a multi-component system, one of the key advantages of using a TOF analyser is not only the high speed of analysis, but also the ability to acquire all masses simultaneously.      
Since there is no 'overhead' to acquiring all data recorded at the detector, the data set is extremely rich and the ability to interrogate the data set retrospectively is one of many advantages offered by the TOF-MS method.      
Soft Ionisation vs. Fragmentation      
The value of E/n within the PTR reactor is important (where E is the voltage gradient per cm in the PTR, and n is the number of molecules per cc). This value determines how soft the ionisation will be. If E/n is high, the molecule will undergo energetic collisions that will cause it to fragment. If E/n is low the molecule is drawn through the reactor more gently. At low E/n, depending upon the water content, it is possible for water clusters to form in the PTR. This is not necessarily a problem provided that the analyte of interest has a higher proton affinity than the water dimer (~808 kJ/mol).




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