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Review on Ion Mobility Spectrometry. Part 1: current instrumentation


Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) is a widely used and 'well-known' technique of ion separation in the gaseous phase based on the differences in ion mobilities under an electric field. All IMS instruments operate with an electric field that provides space separation, but some IMS instruments also operate with a drift gas flow that provides also a temporal separation. In this review we will summarize the current IMS instrumentation. IMS techniques have received an increased interest as new instrumentation and have become available to be coupled with mass spectrometry (MS). For each of the eight types of IMS instruments reviewed it is mentioned whether they can be hyphenated with MS and whether they are commercially available. Finally, out of the described devices, the six most-consolidated ones are compared. The current review article is followed by a companion review article which details the IMS hyphenated techniques (mainly gas chromatography and mass spectrometry) and the factors that make the data from an IMS device change as a function of device parameters and sampling conditions. These reviews will provide the reader with an insightful view of the main characteristics and aspects of the IMS technique.

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