Ambient Microplasma Ionization Source

Mass spectrometry imaging is an important tool being developed for a wide array of uses, particularly in biology and the medical community. In the past few years, techniques have been developed to map the chemical composition of a sample into an easily viewable image in the laboratory, using mass spectrometers for detection. However, a faster, more convenient, and lower-cost method of obtaining these results has remained elusive. Our work focuses on the development of a novel ionization source for ambient mass spectrometry, and the incorporation of this device into an ambient mass spectrometry imaging system. Such a system will enable quick chemically-sensitive analysis of samples with very little, if any, sample preparation, which is ideal in many applications.

This project is geared toward instrument development and characterization, employing techniques such as: microplasma development, electronics, automated data acquisition, gas flow dynamics, microscope optics, laser optics, microfluidics, machining, semiconductor microfabrication, and theoretical modeling of the microplasma source and ion transfer interface.

Symonds, J. M., A. S. Galhena, et al. (2010). "Microplasma Discharge Ionization Source for Ambient Mass Spectrometry." Anal. Chem. (Washington, DC, U. S.) 82(2): 621-627.